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I listened to the webcast yesterday from the Piper Jaffray Consumer Conference in New York after posting the AP story about PacSun and shoes. I dug out a few new details from CEO Sally Frame Kasaks' presentation.
Boardshorts and shorts
Weak sales of boardshorts and shorts hurt PacSun in the first quarter, but that trend has turned in June as soon as the weather grew hotter, Sally said.
Q1 miss and thoughts on The Buckle
Excluding the tough economy, Sally believes PacSun made a mistake in Q1 by not having enough young men's apparel inventory to offset the loss of volume from footwear, a category the company is mostly exiting.
The big miss was not having enough denim in young men's, she said. "We didn't call it right in denim," she said.
"I look at our friends The Buckle. I know their business. And a lot of its got to be driven by denim right now," Sally said. (See my story on why The Buckle shines.)
The denim for PacSun she is referring to is the company's proprietary Bullhead denim line, which has been very successful in juniors. After the Q1 miss, PacSun accelerated deliveries.
A skinny young men's jean became the No. 1 style for young mens three days after arriving in stores, she said.
More about footwear
For back to school, PacSun will carry about a dozen style of sneakers. "Very edited, very targeted to a specific, go forward customer."
The brands PacSun will carry are Nike 6.0, Vans and DC.
The challenge with exiting footwear has been replacing the volume. Currently, dresses are on the wall that used to have footwear and are pretty much meeting the same sales per square foot as footwear. For back to school, the wall will become backpacks.
When the company carried a large collection of sneakers, the average store sold seven to nine pairs a week.
Going forward, PacSun owned brands for juniors will become 50, 60 or as much as 70 percent of the mix. For young men, PacSun will keep its brands at 30 percent.