The stock market capitalization of the publicly listed companies involved in the outdoor sports sector inched up by 2.4 percent to $59.8 billion in 2016. It had risen by 9.8 percent in 2015, partly aided by a doubling in the value of Jarden Corp. prior to its merger with Newell Rubbermaid.

The main drag was the continued weakness of VF Corp., parent company of The North Face, Timberland, Smartwool and many other sports and jeanswear brands, whose stock market value fell by 17.4 percent to $22.0 billion, representing more than one-third of the market capitalization of the sector. VF had already declined by 17.4 percent in 2015.

Without VF, the stock market value of the sector would have increased by 14.0 percent, with nice increases for company's such as Cabela's prior to its acquisition by Bass Pro, plus Columbia Sportswear, Garmin, Johnson Outdoors, Moncler, Thule and Wolverine Worldwide. Big drops occurred at Crocs, GoPro and Vista Outdoor.

Adding other public companies that are not related to the outdoor sector, the stock market capitalization of public companies in the sporting goods sector declined by 0.5 percent on a currency-neutral basis in 2016, after rising by 22.7 percent in 2015.

In addition to the new decline at VF, its performance was dragged down by double-digit declines for major players like Nike and Under Armour. Nike alone represented nearly 25 percent of the industry's total stock market capitalization of $341.8 billion.

The sector's relatively lackluster development is based on SGI's annual study of the performance of each public company in the sector between the beginning and the end of the year. The increases and decreases are calculated in their local currencies and weighted by market capitalization on a fully diluted basis. The data, which are reported on page 3 of this issue, are converted to U.S. dollars at the average exchange rate for the year for ranking purposes.

In contrast with previous years, sporting goods industry stocks performed less well overall than the general stock market. The S&P 500 rose by 9.5 percent for the year and the Global Dow was up by 11.3 percent. In Europe, the FTSE 100 gained 17.0 percent, the DAX went up by 12.4 percent and the French CAC 40 by 8.0 percent. In Asia, the Hang Seng rose by 4.5 percent and the Nikkei by 0.4 percent.

  

Partly offsetting the 23.6 percent drop at Nike, Adidas recovered strongly from its low 2015 valuation with an increase of 68.4 percent last year.

Overall, the 18 public retail stocks on our charts gained 17.4 percent, driven by Lululemon, Dick's and JD Sports Fashion. While JD increased its value by 52.9 percent, its main rival, Sports Direct International, fell by 54.1 percent.

The recent retail bankruptcies in the U.S. may have been part of the problem, and Sports Direct is now said to be considering a bid for the bankrupt Eastern Outfitters, which owns Bob's Stores and Eastern Mountain Sports.

More in SGI Europe.