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A Rusty update for 2008 and a look ahead for 2009

By Tiffany Montgomery
December 22, 2008 8:20 AM

Charlie Setzler I checked in with Rusty North America President Charlie Setzler, right,  to find out how things went with the brand last year now that Rusty is under the La Jolla Group umbrella and what he expects for 2009.

What were some significant milestones for Rusty in 2008?


Charlie: Several milestones include Rusty being named Shaper of the Year for 2008 for his design innovation and pioneer of EPS, the development of our Ecostretch fabric and the Global Cooling series of boardshorts and shifting the brand back to what made Rusty successfully originally - designing youth-oriented, progressive product. We've implemented a new fulfillment system in Canada that will help our business up there tremendously. And, we've already hit our sales plan for Spring 09!

How much did sales grow?


Charlie: We actually had some good growth simply because there was very little Fall and Holiday shipped in 2007 because of the transition - around a 25% increase.

Are you adding new categories and/or do you have new initiatives for 2009?


Charlie: We're actually focusing on key categories with tighter assortments for both Mens and Juniors. We are keeping the same progressive surf theme going with more fashion direction as well. Our new ads are a good example of the new look. As a surf brand, we're staying true to our roots and focusing on boardshorts - with the Ecostretch Hybrid being the featured style. Going into Fall, you'll see rock ‘n roll inspiration throughout the Men's and Juniors line and marketing.

Is there a certain channel of distribution that is doing really well for Rusty right now?


Charlie: Are there any distribution channels doing well right now? Seriously, we're maintaining a conservative distribution model that is focused on the specialty retailer. We can double our business with our existing account base. We're here to help them weather the tough times and be good partners.

What is the biggest challenge for Rusty in 2009?


Charlie: The biggest challenge is going to be controlling inventory. Retailers are going to be running less inventory and we will be doing the same. The balance will be to have inventory of the right product at the right time. I think the old saying that "companies always have inventory" will not be true next year.

What is the biggest opportunity for Rusty in 2009?


Charlie: The biggest opportunity is having the right inventory at the right time. I'm hopeful that the economy will begin to show signs of life in Summer when kids get out of school. With retailers and manufacturer's running less inventory next year, there may actually be an inventory shortage come June. That's one of the good things of being part of the La Jolla Group. We have the ability to react and make things happen that can benefit the retailer in these times and our sales team will be there making sure that accounts are not missing sales.



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