Moody’s just published a report that suggests the debt market may be recovering. However like all good economic news, this report is tempered with some doubt about whether or not the recovery will maintain its pace. The report details that at the height of the credit crisis in 2009, there were 288 companies with 3B or worse credit ratings. That number has dwindled down to 195 this month.
Even more promising are two underlying stats: 1) There has been a steady decline in the number of new additions to the list and 2) most of the removals from the list have been due to ratings upgrades, not defaults.
This basically means that there are fewer risky loans in play today and fewer companies are likely to default. This should loosen up lending and it should help the outdoor industry fund some growth. Outdoor companies – especially retailers – have been dramatically constrained over the past two years by a sever lack of lending. All of the numbers are pointing to an improvement here, but there are still a lot of variables in play…
I spent the weekend at the 10th Annual Rythm and Roots bluegrass festival in Bristol TN/VA. We’ve been going to this event as a family for a few years now- the weather was perfect andcwe had a blast. It’s definatly worth the trip!
The nice thing about Hurricane season in the south is the cool, dry weather they create when they hover offshore. The bad part about hurricane season is when they come ashore. It looks like we have three official hurricanes spinning simultaneously in the Atlantic right now. This is the first time this has happened since 1998 when there were actually four simultaneous storms.
Getting ready for a week on the road – its always bittersweet. Traveling and talking to everyone in the industry is probably one of the things I like most about my job. But at the same time, its always tough to leave the family at home.
This time I’ll hopefully get a little time to play in the mountains. I’ll be right in the middle of the Wasatch in Park City and then I will hopefully get some time in Rocky Mountain National Park. The Altitude should do me some good – its always nice to return home after a week at 5,000+ feet and smoke everyone on my local ride…
There is a lot of talk about the obesity epidemic in the outdoor industry. Americans are getting bigger and fatter, and let’s face it, we were already pretty big to start with. Kids sit in front of the TV a heck of a lot more today than ever before. That means they are not getting outside and (according to the the cynical side of me) their parents are not buying more gear. Parents are working more than ever so they can’t go hiking, biking or fishing with their kids and (according to the the cynical side of me) they are not buying more gear. College kids are spending their free time on video games and social networking and (according to the the cynical side of me) not buying more gear…
Apparently it’s not only a problem for the outdoor industry either. This sedentary lifestyle so prevalent today is impacting the military as well. The Army just redesigned their fitness routine because so many new recruits were overweight. This has led to more injuries during basic training and fewer fit recruits.
“What we were finding was that the soldiers we’re getting in today’s Army are not in as good shape as they used to be,” Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling said in a New York Times Article. “This is not just an Army issue. This is a national issue.”
The number of recruits who fail their physical exams has risen 70% since 1995, according to the article. Perhaps now that the military can;t find fit recruits, the country will wake up to the real cost of cheap, high calorie meals, cutting exercise from school curricula and sitting behind a desk all day.
There was lots of belay device action at OR Summer Market this year and apparently this round of innovation was long over due. Jay Young recently did a three-part series on Gear.com calling out the inadequacies of older belay device designs when used with modern thin ropes. This is definitely a must-read for any climber who does any multi-pitch routes.
Here are the links:
Outdoor Retailer Summer Market was a blur this year, but I did manage to make it out of the booth a few times to re-connect with friends and colleagues. I honestly can’t say if there were any amazing new gear launches or any must-have footwear and apparel. The buzz at the show was good though. Retailers were talking about growing their businesses again instead of just surviving – and that’s a very good thing for everyone.
Anyway, here are a few links to some post-show wrap-ups: