O’Neill Clothing President Kelly Gibson announced today that the brand will add swimwear and girls 7-14 categories to their juniors line as it continues an explosive pattern of growth. The company reported that junior sales were up 44 percent in the first quarter of 2003, while junior accessories grew 90 percent during the same period.
O’Neill had been quietly “beefing up” the juniors division, separating it from the men’s to stand on its own. Then in February, Gibson announced a formal juniors expansion and the addition of key marketing and sales personnel to drive growth. O’Neill upped the ante again by sponsoring the men’s and women’s divisions of the world’s largest professional surfing contest, the U.S. Open, a move hailed as a promotional coup.
Continuing their aggressive push, during the past month O’Neill also added Tonya La Barrie and Michelle Devine to the juniors team. La Barrie, formerly a design director of junior and women’s apparel for Levi Strauss and Wet Seal, will serve as director of juniors merchandising.
Devine, previously sales manager for Dickies Girl, was appointed to the newly created position of juniors sales manager. Devine will direct the national sales effort for junior apparel. Both report directly to Gibson, underscoring the importance of O’Neill’s investment into the juniors category.
“This is an exciting time for O’Neill juniors,” said Gibson. “We have a great team producing killer product and the results are showing at retail.”
The O’Neill swimwear line will be launched to the trade at the SAF show in Miami, Florida in July 2003, and available in store beginning Fall 2003. Details on girls are forthcoming.
The world’s original surf brand continues a steady expansion by focusing on a core marketing strategy and quality products. O’Neill recently celebrated its 50th anniversary by announcing that record sales of technical lifestyle-driven clothing and innovative wetsuits had propelled the company to the elite tier (top three) of global surf companies.