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Richard O'Reilly, a partner in Spyder Surf in Hermosa Beach, which operates two stores in the city, thinks a big issue is the product looks very similar.
"There's nothing very exciting out there," he said. "Nothing's come along that people can't get enough of."
At Spyder, one store was flat and another was down quite a bit, O'Reilly said.
Performance in categories mirrored Zumiez's - sales of outwear and hardgoods in snow were flat and skate shoes
Going forward, Spyder wants to focus on the smaller brands that are bringing some newness to the market, many through art driven graphic T-shirts. Brands gaining traction are Ambission, Hippy Tree,O'Quinn, Mada and Ezekiel. Richard also likes Allyance for spring. Some of those brands are not fully developed in cut and sew, which makes it hard to go deep with the lines.
As far as the large brands, Richard said: "This year it will be very interesting to see how the big guys make us little guys feel relevant. At the end of last year, I wasn't getting that feeling anymore."
Mostly, Richard was referring to companies going directly online and opening their own stores.
In the coming year, Spyder plans to distinguish its stores by carrying more product not found everywhere else and focusing on customer service, including continuing to support the surf teams and surf clubs in the community.
"I'm not looking at doomsday, but we've got our challenges," Richard said.