What categories have performed well over the last quarter? What are you product are you seeing trickle through that you think will do well? What are you looking forward to next season?
These are all questions, that from my experience retailers ask and chat about when they get together in a room. With this in mind we thought why not shoot these questions to a few retailers around Australia and see if they can answer them for us. Justin Bellwood from Aquatique on the South Coast NSW, Julie and the Beach Beat staff in QLD, and Ryan Callegari Operations Manager of Hillzeez in WA shot back a few comments on their specific stores.
What overall product trends did you see coming through into the next season?
Justin Bellwood- It was great to see a strong resurgence in fixed tie boardshorts last year. We see this as a really positive sign that customers are seeking out performance surfwear from us. We love COLOUR!! We see strong sales when there is plenty of colour in our men’s ranges. It works across all departments for us. L/S tee’s continue to work 12 months of the years for us. Caps continue their strong growth for us. Socks are one of the easiest wins for us.
Big swing towards de-constructed tops in swimwear … driven by suppliers at this stage, not sure how this will be received in the market place however we have tried to have a good balance of trending styles supported by great proven structured styles especially from our swimwear specific brands. Most brands had strong lean towards textured or fabric of interest plains rather than traditional floral prints however again we have ensured that we haven’t missed out on offering a floral selection.
Beach Beat- On The clothing front, a lot more coming through in natural colours rather than loud poppy colours. Also more unique/different colour ways which are getting good feedback and sell thru so far. On the surfboard front, massive following on the new Firewire SKX and the retro side of surfing is coming back into trend with models such as the Firewire Go Fish. On the high performance side, JS’s HYFI MonstaBox has been really strong and the PU version has been constantly ticking over.
Ryan Callegari- Q3 going ok for closed toe Footwear, Pants, Jackets, Fleece, Steamers. We are 45 days in to industry “spring” and have our coldest days of the year forecast next week, not unusual considering it is Winter.
Is there a category trend your seeing this season that will perform well in your store?
JB- Very confident that men’s clothing will power for Q4. The combination of colour, performance, and some great price points, so we will see it go well (good weather will always help). I think any category that the consumer firstly thinks “surf shop” for will be strong. Sunglasses, thongs, headwear, ladies swimwear, school backpacks, lycra and surf boards will all perform well.
We believe that dresses will continue to be strong for us through the summer months; with a wide variety of styles available in the market this is a category that is able to cater to many different people.
We are also seeing solid sales with quick to market brands that fall outside the traditional surf umbrella. These brands allow us to bring fresh and trend product into our store across all months.
BB-Always boardies and thongs – both are a very strong and consistent area for us. Hardware has been strong this season; with consistent waves we’ve had good results.
RC- As above. September is a month we averaged 16 degrees maximums last year across our territories. Thus Q3 is similar to other regions in the southern half of this large continent – cold. Q3 weighting is very challenging with some brands that don’t cut the right product, or dump carry over styles. This is a not unusual weather pattern, October we warm up to highs of 19 degrees. We don’t see mainstream appetite, or category shift until November.
Is there a category trending down this season for your store?
JB-Electronics continue to be difficult with a lot of price pressure in the market. Closed toe footwear is not growing for us with the “jogger” trend and lack of “new” product in our ranges. Watches for both men and women are struggling to compete with all the new tech in the market place.
BB-Wetsuits have been a hard sell this season due to temperatures on the Sunny Coast through ‘winter’. Same with thick/heavy winter clothing. Has ‘sat’ compared to previous colder winters.
RC- S/S Tee’s, Hats, Boardshorts, anything highly promotional and thus commoditized all year round. Industry is forward loaded in these categories, many brands still chasing an all year round summer that doesn’t exist.
What was the absolute standout product / brand’s for you this season’s buy?
JB-For Q4, the core advertised styles from the major’s always deliver strong sell through for us. I have invested heavily in price point elastic shorts as I see this as an “easy win” for that time of the year.
BB-Vissla and Hurley. Billabong has definitely lifted in store. In regards to hardware, Firewire and JS have not stopped walking out the door.
RC-Amuse Society, Vissla, Rip Curl. Rip Curl’s product offering at a gift driven time of the year covers all the category bases, whilst the demand of Vissla and Amuse Society will see these brands perform well. Vissla wetsuits for example are performing well in specific youth sizes. We are seeing the youth market gravitate towards the brand because of its story and brand equity. Given that price is the greatest influence on a millennial’s purchase decision it’s encouraging to see so many full price sales in this area.