Becker Surf And Sport

Becker Surf And Sport
Hermosa Beach

Becker Surf and Sport has spread beyond its South Bay roots. Its Web site gathers in more than 200,000 unique visitors a month and is an industry standard. When the Huntington Beach store opens in February, the Becker empire will include five stores and will stretch from Mailbu to Mission Viejo.

So what’s checking at Becker’s original location? “All across the board, basics have been selling strongly,” says Manager John Leininger, “and no particular brand has been running away with it.”
One item has been checking surprisingly well, however. “Sales of Quiksilver Silver Edition stretch cord have been unreal — and it’s not a low-price item,” says Leininger.

What hasn’t been checking so well is denim. “We didn’t overbuy, but it didn’t check like all the hype said it was going to,” says Leininger. “Companies like The Gap have been doing denim for years and are over inventoried and pushing it like crazy. I doubt denim will ever be a controlling type fabric in a surf shop. People will buy a basic pair of denim pants, but they aren’t going to need three or four other pairs.”

Overall he says the retro look is becoming more important in the surf industry: “Polo shirts are coming back and Op is even reissuing a vintage line — that’s kind of indicative of where the market is going.”

While Becker does the most sales volume with Quiksilver, Leininger says Volcom is probably the brand kids ask for most. “However, I think the market is more item driven than brand driven,” he adds.

A new Web-dedicated warehouse and corporate office in Torrance handles most of the day-to-day operations for, but since inventory is pulled from each of the retail stores, Leininger says a couple employees are just devoted to hunting down stuff for the Internet. “We’ll get a sheet or two a day of all the stuff that they need,” he says. “It takes some time out of the day, but it’s all part of the game.” Leininger says that while Internet sales haven’t matched the sales from the Hermosa Beach store, they probably soon will. “It’s on such a steep growth curve and we’ve only been pursuing the thing really hard for the last year or year and a half and the growth curve is just incredible,” he says. [IMAGE 2]

But despite the growing importance of the Web site and the launch of the new store, Leininger says growth expectations for 2002 are modest. “I don’t see growth for next year,” he says. “We’ll hopefully hold on to what we did last year. I expect that some vendors will go by the wayside. In tough economic times, people won’t take chances or try different small companies. The second tier and third tier are going to have a hard time.”

Window Brands: O’Neill, Quiksilver, Roxy, Becker
Major Display Brands: Hurley, Volcom, Ezekiel, Quiksilver, Billabong, O’Neill, Reef, and others.
Best Selling Category: Basics
Weakest Category: Denim
Strongest Brand: Quiksilver
Best Rep: Lee Westfall (O’Neill)