Billabong Group brands will show their fall lines to key retailers by invitation only at the Surf & Sand Hotel in Laguna Beach instead of at a trade show.
The showings are set for Feb. 8, 9 and 10.
I asked Billabong North America President Paul Naude why the company is choosing that route.
He said it was simply a matter of timing. This plan had been in place before ASR shut down its trade show because ASR’s January dates and the dates of other West Coast trade shows did not fit with the Billabong Group’s calendars.
Paul has previously expressed his displeasure with the industry trend of releasing lines earlier and earlier, which goes against the conventional wisdom of many other industries of getting the freshest products to market with the shortest amount of lead times.
Billabong usually attends both ASRs and both Surf Expos, and brings its full booth setups. While Billabong brands were present at Surf Expo, which was held in early January, all the brands except RVCA were showing summer lines.
Paul said he is a supporter of trade shows and appreciates their importance, but the dates need to work for Billabong’s calendars to make sense for the company to attend.
I asked if the company would take a similar approach when it comes time later this year to show Spring 2012 lines. He said he wasn’t ready to talk about future plans at this time.