In the latest installment of ‘What’s Selling,’ preliminary Leisure Trends Group Outdoor RetailTRAK data shows that core outdoor dollars climbed 7 percent over October 2011 on a solid 5 percent unit increase and 2 percent average retail-selling price hike. Sales reached an October-record $451 million.

“October was the industry’s ninth straight month of growth,” said Leisure Trends Senior Retail Analyst Tom Jones. “We expect to see that streak continue at least through the holidays.”

Chain and internet channels tallied 10 percent dollar gains while specialty increased 2 percent. The specialty channel has not grown more than 4 percent on a same-month-previous-year basis since October 2011, when the independent shops jumped 10 percent over October 2010. Year-to-date, specialty retail sales posted flat dollars compared to the same period in 2011, while chain store sales increased 6 percent and internet sales climbed 11 percent.

October was an especially dynamic month for retailers as temperatures finally moderated. “October was the first month in 16 that didn’t set a new heat record,” said Leisure Trends Retail Relations Manager Greg Shoenfeld. “In fact, much of North America experienced below normal temperatures, triggering demand for apparel.”

Apparel accounted for 56 percent of October dollars as it climbed 8 percent to $252M. Sportswear continued its tear through the outdoor industry, climbing 13 percent to $61M. In a positive sign, outerwear dollars gained 6 percent.

Outdoor equipment dollars remained flat but equipment accessories leapt 17 percent. Every equipment accessory subcategory grew by double-digit percentages except sport racks and pet products.

Shoenfeld noted Hurricane Sandy’s mixed impact during the final week of the month. “While many stores were shuttered for anywhere from one to five days due to widespread power outages, demand for survival gear such as lights, stoves, fuel and water purifiers helped save the month for many retailers,” he said.