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I spent time with a lot of different people in Hawaii, went to a lot of stores, and learned all sorts of interesting information.
Here is a compilation of some nuggets I gleaned.
While we were driving through the North Shore, Quiksilver CEO Bob McKnight pointed out a piece of land that Quiksilver owns on the Kamehameha Highway, the two-lane main road.
The site is where Kammie’s Market used to be. The plan, which is working its way through the permitting process, is to open a Boardriders Club there that will be run by Leslee Kanaiaupuni. She and her family operate the Boardriders Club in nearby Haleiwa.
The store on Kamehameha Highway will be smaller and tailored to the rural North Shore setting, Bob said. A restaurant with healthy foods will be attached.
Important core retailers in Hawaii brought up the competition from Macy’s as a real problem for them, much more so than I hear from retailers in other parts of the U.S.
In Hawaii, locals shop in the malls, and a lot of core retailers – T&C, HIC, Local Motion, Shapers (owned by Hi-Tech in Maui), Blue Hawaii - have stores in shopping centers. So does Macy’s, which carries a ton of brands, and frequently discounts them.
Some retailers specifically told me about cutting back buys of brands that are carried at Macy’s because they want their store to stock something different, and they can’t compete with Macy’s promotional discounts.
I went into several Macy’s in Hawaii, and was surprised how large their selection of brands was and how messy the stores were even on weekdays. Each time I went in, there was an action sports promotion going on. One time it was two Ts for $34, another it was 25% off fleece.
In the young men’s section in a Macy’s on Oahu, brands I saw included Volcom, Quiksilver, Hurley, Stussy, Rip Curl, O’Neill, DC, Famous Stars and Straps, and more.
At a Macy’s in Maui, Volcom was absent from young men’s, but in addition to the brands above, I saw a huge Metal Mulisha buildout and some Skullcandy Ts and fleece (see photo above in slideshow).
Some of the retailers I spoke to noted favorably that Billabong is not in Macy’s. However, they also noted that Billabong owns quite a bit of its own retail on the Islands, mostly in tourist areas.
Speaking of Billabong, I went into a lot of Billabong-owned stores in Hawaii, and could really see the company’s larger strategy in play. The stores say Honolua or Billabong out front, but many of the company brands are represented in every store, giving shoppers a lot to choose from and Billabong a vertical margin on most of the goods.
In a Honolua store on Maui, for instance, there were goods from Honolua, Billabong men and women, RVCA men and women, Element men and women, Nixon watches, Kustom shoes, lots of DaKine bags and Von Zipper sunglasses. Some outside brands are also carried, including Reef sandals.
In its financial documents, Billabong does not break down its retail by region. Here are the approximate numbers of Billabong-owned stores on the Islands based on brand websites and stores I saw: 21 Honolua stores, four Billabong stores, two DaKine stores, an Element store and four Xcel stores.
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