COVID-19: Good News and Bad News

The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough for all retailers and consumers alike. What with shutdowns, restrictions, government mandates and elements of fear from the consuming public, times are tough out there in retail land.

April and May were particularly difficult as anxiety was the emotion “du jour.” So many sporting goods/tackle stores had to close either by government mandate or simply out of a shortage of patrons and/or employees. The moan of “woe is me” could almost be heard in retail land.

Then it started to happen, slowly at first. The customers began to return. Minor purchases became major expenditures. As schools and businesses closed, more kids and dads had the time and need to get out of the house and enjoy some fresh air and the pure enjoyment of doing some fishing.

The adroit retailers capitalized on this trend. They adapted their stores to use drive up windows, online purchases and other forms of garnering sales. In some states, tackle stores were classified as essential industries.

In some areas of the country, fishing tackle has become a hot seller as both kids and parents seek an outlet for their “house bound” current lifestyle. A good day on the lake or stream allowed participants to enjoy some fresh air, good times and measure camaraderie.

Now as we begin July, many retail stores are allowed to open, thus making retail tackle stores that much more viable. Tackle sales have also benefited by the natural reduction of the fear element and positive adaptation by the consuming public and retailers alike. While care and concern are still widely practiced, things are significantly improving.

Sporting goods and tackle retailers should keep in mind that while in store demand may be fairly strong, there is the possibility that there will be a second spike in COVID-19 infections as the summer wears on. As winter approaches, the possibility of a secondary infection spike is likely if not probable. 

I think it is important for retailers to keep in mind that delivery systems are becoming a major consideration for both retailers and consumers. Right now, a trip to the store is viewed with some level of caution. Hence the significant increase in online sales inclusive of fishing tackle.

Online sales are booming and that is not likely to decrease . . . only increase. I encourage tackle/sporting goods retailers to take advantage in this fundamental change in retail shopping patterns.

As with all businesses, change and adaptation is omnipresent. COVID-19 has been difficult, but it has ushered in many positive changes which spell “opportunity.” Get your fair share!