Most of mainland Europe saw a fantastic summer of sun, and unseasonably good waves meant 2015’s summer produced the goods. As we know with the winter season, November and December is when the snow really matters and things have started off according to plan.
The West Coast of America finally saw some solid snowfall after a dismal few winters, and snowboard sales are up nearly double compared to the same time last year. It’s a welcome relief for snowboard retailers across the pond and Snowsports Industries America (SIA) even warned of product scarcity should El Niño really take hold, thanks to specialty stores going for lean product lines after a handful of tough years.
Looking closer to home, at the time of writing, the European Alps and Pyrenees have just been battered by some major snowfall with more looking likely for the coming weekend. But the biggest current storm is the movement in the exchange rates, with the rise of the dollar eating into brands’ inventory margins throughout most of Europe, whilst the rise of the sterling and the Swiss Franc means online business is now increasingly competitive.
However, there seems to be an air of quiet optimism around, as brands are more prepared
than ever for whatever the winter storms will dish out. And according to this issue’s market
intelligence, it would seem European retailers (like their American counterparts) are managing their cash flow better, slimming down on product offerings for this winter and learning from over-stocking issues of recent seasons.
Could it be possible that we look back on the second half of 2015 as the beginning of a real turning point for the boardsports industry?
Harry Mitchell Thompson
On the cover: Dennis Dusseldorp, Director at Low Pressure Studio