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Bob McKnight: The manufacturer’s view

Bob McKnight, CEO of
Bob McKnight, CEO of Quiksilver, in his office in Huntington Beach.
By Tiffany Montgomery
November 19, 2007 5:25 AM

Bob and I talked about this issue, among others, as part of a larger interview. I think it provides some insight into Quiksilver's approach and reasoning behind its retail strategy:


A manufacturer opening a retail store is not an "evil thing," Bob said.

 

"The main reason is now, the (core) stores are only so big and can only carry so much of Quiksilver and Roxy, and we have to look out for our own identity," Bob said. "We want customers to see our whole range, our belts, our sunglasses, etc. - everything we have to offer."


Going forward, Quiksilver is focusing most of its retail expansion in other parts of the world - Russia, China, Brazil, Mexico, the Midwest and Canada - where there's not a lot of other distribution.


If the company does open one along the coast, they sometimes first ask the local retailer if they want to open the store themselves. In Laguna Beach, for example, Eric John of Laguna Surf & Sport opened the Quiksilver Boardriders store downtown, Bob said.

Bob said Quiksilver works with local retailers when Quiksilver opens a new store.

 

The most important thing is honesty and communication, he said.

 

Bob said Tom Holbrook, Quiksilver's executive vice president of strategic brand development, usually sits down with the retailer and tells them what Quiksilver is doing and why.

 

"Once they get over the initial shock of it all, we say, ‘What can we do for you to make it palatable,' " Bob said. "We'd like to invest more in your store, decorate it up, help you however we can. We're not going to carry surfboards and wet suits like you, so we'll send customers to you."

 

"And we tell them, ‘Watch your numbers, and if your Quiksilver numbers start to suffer, we'll do whatever is necessary and we'll fix it and take care of you.' In 99 out of 100 cases, Quiksilver sales at the core shop goes up."

 


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