Intersport Austria had to report a drop in sales of almost ten percent for the first half of 2021, yet the cooperative is optimistic about the year as a whole, as long as trade and borders remain open. Despite long retail lockdowns and a largely lost ski season earlier this year, a slight increase in sales is expected for the full year, thanks to current positive trends in biking, hiking, fitness, running and stand-up paddling, as well as a resurgent winter business.
The drop in first-half sales would have been higher without a recent boom in the bike segment, which proved to be the biggest sales driver for the buying group. The affiliated retailers were able to increase sales of bikes by 20 percent in the first half of 2021 as compared to the same period of the previous year. In total, around 40,000 bikes were sold by them throughout Austria from January to June 2021. The e-bike sector grew disproportionately, and strong growth was also recorded in the areas of children’s and mountain bikes, with an exceptional growth in demand for gravel bikes.
In the outdoor segment, the demand increased by around 40 percent, while running grew by around 30 percent. In the outdoor segment, hiking boots, backpacks, apparel and camping products are currently experiencing a boom. In addition, Intersport Austria predicts sales of more than 10,000 SUP boards this summer, meaning an increase of 80 percent, and the trend is expected to continue to grow in the coming years.
Intersport Austria considers a large part of the crisis to have been mastered. Thus, despite the Covid crisis, it was possible for Intersport’s Austrian retail members to buy back the business from Intersport Germany a few weeks ago, as previously reported. Currently, the Intersport Austria group comprises 104 retailers with over 280 locations and around 3,700 employees. The total sales area sums up to around 190,000 square meters.