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Holiday outlook: Val Surf

Mark Richards, co-owner of Val
Mark Richards, co-owner of Val Surf, with sons Blake, left, and Brandon, right. Both sons work for Val Surf.
By Tiffany Montgomery
November 30, 2007 5:43 AM

I asked Mark "Wally" Richards of Val Surf how he's feeling about business as the holiday season gets underway. Val Surf has five stores in the Los Angeles area.


Here's what Mark had to say:


Tom Holbrook, Mark RichardsTom Holbrook of Quiksilver with Mark “Wally”
Richards at Mark’s 60th birthday party.

"The outlook for the holiday season is not that encouraging at the present. We have virtually no snow, gas prices are approaching $4, the writers guild is on strike, the housing market is getting worse, foreclosures are running rampant, vendors are competing with their loyal retailers, chain stores continue to open on top of each other and independent retailers, and the news media keeps reporting gloom and doom and, essentially, indirectly telling the consumers to stay home.


"All this considered, I would not be expecting sales to grow over last year. We have ordered more conservatively but perhaps not conservatively enough.


"With the water getting so cold so soon we are expecting wet suit sales to be holding their own. Of course, O'Neill Psycho will continue being the strongest suit. In snow we continue to see growing interest in Lib Techs Magna Traction and now, this year, with their Banana Technology. We also expect Ride and Rome to be consistent sellers as well. Grenade is also one of my strongest, growing brands.


"In surf, we see the new team at Rusty making an impact and see their boards coming on strong for the holidays and into spring. Our own line of new T-shirt designs has been really well accepted and we plan on them being in high demand.


"Strong brands continue to be Volcom, RVCA, KR3W, O'Neill, and Mattix just to name a few."


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