Board Retailers Association Summit Five

Transworld Business was on site in San Juan, Puerto Rico for BRA‘s fifth iteration of its Retail Summit, and a ton of important industry topics were discussed. The conference was held in San Juan’s Caribe Hilton, and offered attendees a nice mix of business and pleasure. Here’s a quick synopsis from some of the seminars. Also, be sure to check out the photo gallery HERE.


Seminar Day One:

Dave Seehafer (Right) from Global Wave Ventures discussed the state of the board sports industry, and presented data from Board-Trac to substantiate his remarks. Key points and data included:

  • 11 billion dollar industry with 20 million participants
    • Surf: 2.3 million participants
      • 66% male/ 34% female
      • 55% of market 10-24 years old
      • 45% of market older than 25
    • Skate: 11.1 million participants
      • 78% male/ 22% female
      • 88% of market 10-24 years old
      • largest segment of market between 6-17 years old
    • Snow: 7 million participants
      • 63% male/ 37 percent female
      • 72% of market 10-24 years old
  • Specialty Retail still significant in both hardgoods and softgoods.
  • Retailers must be proactive to keep core customers in times of increased competition by focusing on:
    • Service
    • Customer Loyalty
    • Store Personnel/ Training
    • Inventory Management
    • Private Label
    • Online Business

crw_2119_475.jpgCary Allington (right) from ActionWatch Data opened a discussion about how aggregated sales data can service both manufacturers and retailers. His company compiles point of sale data from more than 140 action sports retailers.Ellington did a great job of building scenarios that emphasized how aggragated data can increase negotiating power with vendors, increase vendor’s ability to provide the right products at the right time, and increase overall industry efficiency.

crw_2128_475.jpgOf all the speakers at Day One’s meetings, SIMA President Dick Baker (left) made the most salient points. Baker’s free-flowing dissertation covered topics such as: big brands vs. small brands, distribution, how top retailers can build brands out of their shops with proper private label programs, company stores and when they’re a threat, e-commerce and how core retailers must have an online business, the importance of trade shows, and the potential of cross-overs in the music market. He also says environmental issues will drive one of the most overwhelming changes in American business over the next 4-5 years.
Seminar Day 2:

The second day of seminars got kicked off with a panel of manufacturers. Quiksilver Executive VP Tom Holbrook, Rip Curl VP of Sales Paul Harvey, and Global Surf Industries President Mark Kelly answered questions from moderator Vipe Desai of Propaganda HQ, as well as members of the audience.man_panel_300.jpg

Topics included:

  • Ways to handle economically challenging conditions
  • How to get more out of your sales reps
  • How to compete with national retailers such as Hollister
  • How to deal with online retailers like
  • Saturation in the marketplace
  • Getting rid product that doesn’t sell
  • Manufacturers going direct online
  • Manufacturer’s company stores

Next up Ed Wray, Eastern Sales and Marketing Manager for SIA. Wray discussed the state of the snow market and offered a recap of the past season. Snow Sports Industries America (SIA) compiles data and offers it to retailers and manufacturers in the industry. ed_wray.jpgHere are some interesting facts from Wray:

  • 60,000 new and used snowboards were sold on Ebay last year.
  • SIA is now working on ways to track Ebay sales, and will soon be able to track specific companies and models were sold, and what zip code they were sold in.
  • The average snowboarder spent ten days on the hill last year.
  • On aging of snowboard industry, the average specialty shop has been in business for 13 years.

Following Wray, Glen Brumage from IASC offered an analysis of the skate market, stressing the importance of online sales to retailers. It was an insightful segue into an interactive discussion on skate hardgoods merchandising led by Todd Roberts from ZJ Boarding House. Ideas bounced around the room almost instantly, and it was evident that the Board Retailers Association is achieving what it set out to five years ago; retailers from around the country were sharing ideas with each other. Competitors were helping each other come up with ideas to improve sales and better merchandise their stores.

Seminar Day 3:

tradeshow.jpgA panel discussion concerning trade-shows started the day off on the third, and final day of seminars. ASR Show Director Andy Tompkins and Lori Kisner from Surf Expo/ DMG World Media lead a discussion on trade-show issues that impact retailers. From scheduling concerns and show-floor layouts to allowing the public into shows, many topics were hashed out. Retailers were not supportive of the idea of opening the shows to the public.

Following the roundtable, Vipe Desai from Propaganda HQ tackled the subject of building a better retail brand. Desai emphasized that retailers are an integral part of the industry and provide the portal that brings participants into the sports and lifestyle. The seminar addressed how shops can become powerful brands within their communities and open opportunities to work with non-endemic sponsors on promotional events.

Other seminars on the final day included a two part session from Seehafer on developing a successful private label program in retail shops and how retailers can stay fresh with their core customers.

Overall, the retailers who attended were pleased to have an opportunity to learn how to better run their business, as well as have a platform to network with other retailers who are facing the same challenges as themselves. The general consensus from the event was overwhelmingly positive, and Transworld Business is already looking forward to next year.