The Economy, Value of Brands, and Relationship between Brick and Mortar and Online

April 18th, 2014

I went to the Snowboard Industry Conference. I had fun. I learned stuff. I talked to people. I drank beer. I made a speech. Uh, I made the speech before I drank the beer just to be clear. During that speech there were three pieces of information I want to pass on to you. It’s not that the rest of the speech wasn’t worthy of your consideration, but these are the three things from it that I […]

Sport Chalet and Ideas on the Retail Environment

March 3rd, 2014

I don’t follow Sport Chalet closely. But they said something in their 10Q for the December 29th quarter that related to some other ideas I’d seen on how the retail market is changing. I thought they might be worth talking about together. Sport Chalet’s Dilemma   Sport Chalet operates 52 stores, 34 of which are in Southern California. “These stores,” we’re told, “average approximately 41,000 square feet in size. Our stores offer over […]

Billabong and Quiksilver; Two Peas in a Pod

February 14th, 2014

Billabong’s announcement last week that it was, among other things, conducting a strategic review of SurfStitch and Swell caused me to focus on the similarities of its situation to Quiksilver’s. It also made me realize that most of what has been discussed publically by both companies is what I’ll call mechanical issues. I want to remind you what those are and then move on to the way more important and difficult to […]

Thoughts from the SIA Show

February 6th, 2014

So I confess. I’m from Seattle and there was no way in hell I was going to be on a plane Sunday while the Super Bowl was on. I left Saturday. But in my two days wandering the show, I had some thoughts I wanted to share with you.  There was a bit more of a somber attitude at the show then I’ve ever noticed. Everybody I talked to seemed to feel the same […]

Intrawest Officially Trading as a Public Company. What’s the Impact?

February 3rd, 2014

As many of you know, Intrawest, the owner of Steamboat, Winter Park, Tremblant, Stratton, Snowshoe, Mammoth, and half of Blue Mountain, started trading as a public company on January 31. The initial offering price for the stock was supposed to be $15 to $17, but it ended up going public at $12 in a soft stock market where fear of the Fed tapering and its impact on certain developing countries is […]

What Happens If (When?) Apparel Prices Rise?

January 21st, 2014

We sell a lot of apparel. It’s where we, as an industry, make somewhere between a lot to most of our money. We’ve benefited over many years from apparel prices that have risen slowly if at all, and certainly more slowly than inflation. This article demonstrates that. It further tells us that apparel prices have started to rise and that they may rise more in the future.  The increase is due to rising labor […]

A Sustainable Competitive Advantage: The Zumiez 100K

January 17th, 2014

I have written before about the value of Zumiez’s hiring, training, and promotion process. They take kids with a passion for the activities and brands their stores sell, train them, support them, make them compete with their peers, and promote the ones who succeed. The average age of store managers is something like 23 and pretty much all their district and regional managers started out as sales people in a store.  This […]

Surf Expo from the 10,000 Foot Level- Literally

January 13th, 2014

Yesterday morning, I was in warm, humid, sea level Orlando for Surf Expo. After 14 hours of travel, I found myself at the cold, dry, and 10,000 feet high Keystone resort for the Zumiez 100K event. Whew. One beer was my limit with dinner last night, and then I went to sleep early.  Agenda and Surf Expo are two very different shows, with Agenda more urban and apparel and Surf Expo more beach […]

Agenda Show: The New Skate Business Model

January 10th, 2014

I’m somewhere in the middle of the country between the Agenda and Surf Expo trade shows at 30,000 feet. Before I talk about the sea change in skateboarding I saw at Agenda, I have a request. Will the powers that be at both shows please figure out how to not have the shows overlap?  Please, no explanations and finger pointing. Not interested. Yeah, yeah, I know. I don’t understand. I’m just a customer (kind of) that […]

Speaking of Brand Retail Strategies…..

January 6th, 2014

Shortly after I posted my article on Quiksilver’s annual results, a reader of mine sent me this brief article (thanks YKW!). Here’s another article on the same subject with a little more information (don’t be confused because it has the same picture). Basically, what they say is that “Nike and Adidas recently dealt an additional blow to small-scale commerce by severing ties with those accounts unable to sell £25,000 GBP (approximately $41,000 […]