Berkshire Hathaway-owned Brooks Running is having a runaway year as people take up outdoor running to stay fit during the pandemic as they avoid germ-infested gyms.
“I have to go back to March and April when retail froze. It was closed all throughout Europe and there was a rolling closure across the U.S. in apparel and footwear. Everything froze. But what we saw is people started running and we’re seeing incredible growth and participation right now,” Brooks Running’s long-time CEO Jim Weber told Yahoo Finance Live.
Brooks’ — known for its technical running sneakers — has the sales trends to backup Weber’s claims.
Third quarter sales surged 49% from a year ago. The company is projecting 27% growth for all of 2020, even as the pandemic has decimated most sectors from within retail. Weber credits the growth to repeat purchases by hardcore runners (think people who run 3-5 times a week) and new entrants into the category.
And it’s not just Brooks seeing strength with running sneakers.
The running category was a relative bright spot in third quarter earnings out of Foot Locker. Same-store sales for Foot Locker in the quarter rose 7.7%, powered in large part by basketball sneakers. Men’s running sneaker sales were unchanged versus last year. Casual sneaker sales fell sharply with people not going out much to eat, etc. during the coronavirus pandemic.
Meanwhile, Under Armour saw third quarter footwear sales rise 19% on the back of strength in running and training sneakers. Under Armour is using the momentum to launch higher priced running sneakers and an entirely new platform in 2021, company executives said on an earnings call.
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