TransWorld Business asked three major action sports retailers about how sales were looking over the Black Friday weekend, expectations for today’s Cyber Monday sales, and what each foresaw for the coming holiday season. Brands and retailers alike in the action sports arena were taking advantage of the weekend extravaganza by sending out emails alerting customers to deals. Hobie Polarized, SHUT Skateboards, Point Distribution, VonZipper, O’Neill, Killer Dana surf shop, and American Apparel were just some of the clever campaigns we saw over the weekend.
After a quick check-in with Sun Diego Owner Dave Nash, evo Founder Bryce Phillips, and B.C. Surf and Sport President Bruce Cromartie, here’s what we gathered.
How did you do this year vs. last year with both Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales?
DN: Black Friday's sales were up considerably. Cyber Monday doesn't really mean much to us at this point. The big boys are having too much fun with it and frankly it's a game we can't afford to win!
BP: Black Friday was pretty incredible for us both in the store and on the web. We have aggressive plans and the beginning of the week was slower than expected so it was very encouraging to see Friday as strong as it was. Today we are also expecting solid year over year growth but we’ll know more about how it actually plays out at midnight. [As of 3 p.m. Monday, November 28] Considering 3 p.m. is usually the mid-way point for the web, so far so good. We will definitely be beating our best day ever record that we set last cyber-Monday, which we actually also beat three days ago on black Friday.
BC: Black Friday was up single digits.
What are your expectations for holiday sales at your shop over the next month or so?
DN: I believe the Holiday sales will be up high single digits, as long as the news leaves us alone and we don't get any flooding the week prior to Christmas like we did last year. The bad news is for retail, Christmas falls on the worst possible day—that being Sunday, so that can affect our sales a percentage point or two.
BP: Again, we are planning strong growth. The web growth is planned to be considerably higher than the store but if we keep trending based on the last week in the store, we will be feeling really good about both. In the North West, the great start to winter is also providing us with the needed support.
BC: We are looking for a same store 5% to 10% increase over last year, assuming there’s no big negative economic news in the next couple of weeks.
What are you doing differently this year vs. last with merchandising for the holidays?
DN: We have tried to do a better job with different gift ideas but other than that it's keeping everybody positive, the stores festive, clean and well merchandised and lastly not playing the discount game!
BP: We continue to broaden our assortment across all of the categories that we represent with new brands, more SKU’s, and more depth within the product that we feel will be best received by the customer this year. Because there is some very compelling reasons to buy considering all of the new technology and excitement around the backcountry, etc, we’ve felt especially good about getting behind particular SKU’s that have a great story. Hardgoods continue to be surprisingly big for us as a percent of overall sales which is especially encouraging because we see our hardgoods business as the foundation for all of the other categories that we sell.
BC: Not much. It’s a pretty similar approach. We are a little deeper on inventory in some key areas, but not a lot.