78 Percent of Hobby Shops Report Decline in Sales in 2008

Nearly 78 percent of all hobby retailers reported a decline in gross sales last year, according to the results of Card Trade’s 12th annual retailer survey. That figure represents a significant jump from the 47 percent who reported a decline in 2007. Profits declined at more than 73 percent for all stores.

While the number of stores reporting a decrease in sales and profits was stunning, it’s not surprising in light of how bad the economy was last year. The one bright side is the average decrease in gross sales reported by store’s was 23.5 percent, which was only slightly higher than the previous year’s average decrease of 20.5 percent. The fact one in five stores was able to hold the line on sales or report an increase is probably a pretty good ratio compared to other retail categories.

Customer traffic also declined at the majority of stores, and nearly 60 percent of those businesses reported a loss in youth traffic, dealing a blow to the industry’s efforts to recruit new customers.

While an unknown number of hobby shops closed last year, that number appears likely to grow in the near future, as 10 percent of retailers who responded to the survey said they were “very pessimistic” about the future of their businesses.

More than 250 retailers took part in the survey, which was conducted last month.

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