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Report: Athletic Sales Flat in 2008

An NPD Group report shows declines in Europe and the Americas.

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Sales in athletic sports equipment, apparel and footwear were flat for 2008 after a 4 percent rise the year prior, according to a recent report.

The NPD Group’s Global Sports Estimate 2009 report showed that 1 percent declines in sales in Europe and the Americas were offset by growth in Asia, where sales rose 4 percent (led by China, with a 15 percent jump), and in the Middle East and Africa, where sales were up 7 percent.

Running, walking and hiking, swimming, cycling, the workout/fitness category and soccer all saw gains in market size, while golf, basketball and tennis shrank. Apparel decreased 1 percent globally, with footwear flat for the year worldwide, despite a 3 percent decline in the Americas.

Looking ahead to 2009, the Port Washington, N.Y.-based research group’s report forecasts sales declines driven by the economy in China, with the European market trending toward private-label expansion and manufacturer consolidation.