April saw a first for me when I received a mountain bike as a birthday present. Admittedly I was somewhat taken aback, particularly as my activities in the great outdoors have been either on horse back, skiing, abseiling (albeit some while ago) and a recent desire to take my family camping. However, showing willing (always keen to give most sporting activities a go) I was kitted out with hat, gloves and of course my bike – off we set for what I thought would be a leisurely ride up and along the North Downs. The cycle routes that have been set out however, are obviously for the keen enthusiast and whilst I have always maintained I prefer to come down a hill (or mountain – skiing is a great passion) and that climbing up has always engendered a fear, it is certainly not the same on a bike. Give me a hill to climb any day – coming down – well, all I can say is fearless I no longer am, the speed, turns and ultimate crash (luckily only pride was hurt) are obviously designed for the thrill seekers – but as a stubborn taurean – I will keep at it until I have conquered my fear and the particular route that even my nine year old can manage!
Trying new activities and becoming more in-tune with the great outdoors is a growing love for many a weekend warrior. With so many people living in cities and towns, with little to no outdoor space, the desire to gain urban adventures and the overwhelming desire for ‘fresh air’ has got to be a huge benefit to the independent retailer. After all, it is you, who is best placed to serve this growing element to the market, and perhaps more importantly, with many coming from middle class backgrounds, the weekend warrior has money to spend!
Another activity I was keen to try last month was Nordic Walking (see our report on page 14), an area that certainly appears to be growing in popularity. Adventure travel is another buoyant and growing area (see page 24) so whilst, some traditional outdoor pursuits may be stagnating in sales there are a number of areas that can still turn a healthy profit for the independent retailer. And, as keen outdoor enthusiasts and experts surely the time has come to re-ignite the passion for embracing new activities that sit neatly alongside the traditional ones. On a final point this month, the festival season is nearly upon us, and with this comes a requirement for tents and camping gear that is suited to the family giving rise to a healthy increase in sales . What’s more camping is
now officially ‘cool’ according to a recent report by the BBC and with celebrities such as Kate Moss, Jodie Kidd, Sienna Miller, Jamie Oliver and Kim Wilde all taking to their tents – profits are sure to be your pitch…