By  on March 6, 2007

WASHINGTON — Demand for high-tech performance apparel, from weekend warriors and world-class athletes alike, helped drive up sales and average prices of sports apparel last year.

Wholesale sales of sports apparel increased 8.2 percent, to $28.8 billion last year, according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association’s 2007 State of the Industry report, released at the trade group’s Industry Leaders Summit here. The association predicts a sales increase of 6.5 percent this year.

Higher prices seem to be helping that rise along, as consumers last year paid 5 percent more for sports apparel than they did in 2004, according to an NPD Group consumer survey cited in the report.

Thomas Cove, president and chief executive officer of the Washington-based sporting goods association, attributed the pricing power to performance products that deliver more than is traditionally expected of fashion, such as moisture management or temperature control.

For complete coverage see tomorrow's issue of WWD.

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