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Positive outlook as the country opens up

It’s been a particularly bruising period for retail since 24 March 2020 – especially snowsport retailers who have lost one winter and a significant part of another.

With restrictions being eased and retail finally opening, what are the prospects for a return to something approaching normality. And what about the prospects for a bounce back winter in 2022?

Some UK retailers give their thoughts on the SGB website, with a few headline comments here.

Nick Warne, Snowtrax

“It’s fantastic to finally be back open! Boot fitting has jumped back into life with a flurry of activity, and our ski slopes are experiencing record levels of demand for the time of year. With indoor hospitality due to open next week, it’s feeling like we’re on the road back to normality. We’re expecting an upturn in business over the summer, with people holidaying in the UK, and are cautiously optimistic next winter will see ski and snowboard holidays return for most of our customers.”

Chris Nichols, Cotswold Outdoor and Snow and Rock.

“At Snow & Rock we have seen a change in the type of product we are selling since the stores have reopened, with a move to service orientated lines in snowsport.

Ski boot sales have picked up and we have sold a lot of footbeds and socks too, as they are part of the boot package a customer needs.

We are seeing great sales from the Outdoor categories with footwear the shining star. Colder weather has helped apparel sales in insulation and waterproofs…hardly surprising. Camping has seen great growth too and likely to get better as campsites re-open soon.”

Karla Mason, Craigdon Perth

“It has been really positive so far, footfall is good and customers seem to want to shop local and are very happy for some interaction – even with my chat!

Sales have been strong, I would have to go back to 2013 for comparable sales at this time of year. Footwear is particularly strong, and people seem to be happy to spend. Undoubtedly the prospect of staying at home this summer and more people walking through lockdowns have helped us.

Winter was going well until lockdown , then we saw a lift in touring kit as you would expect with the conditions but alpine kit sales were non-existent. I think the start to next winter will be buoyant especially if travel allows. There seems to be a lot of pent-up demand and keenness to get back on snow when talking to customers. With more people venturing into touring this year and cobbling together kit, it could be good for us.

So overall pretty positive, I’m really hoping it continues! “

Chris Sturgess, Snowfit.

“Well, it’s great to be open again that’s for sure! If for no other reason than the fact I can now talk to someone face to face who is not a member of my household!

Our first week back was very steady, with takings pretty much the same as they were for that week in 2019. Sadly since then, things have slowed a little each week but we are getting lots of regulars coming in to just say Hi. They are all desperate to get away and quite fancy getting some new gear. Hopefully, this will translate into sales at some point. Certainly, the feedback so far is that people want to go away next season & they also want to support local shops where they can.

Like many shops, we have diversified into some watersports gear for this summer. With late deliveries and the fact that water is so flipping cold right now we have not seen sales in this really take off just yet but again the interest that we have had is very encouraging & I think it will only be a matter of time before it really blows up.”

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