The recent acquisition of MagicSeaweed, Stab Magazine, and SurfHardware by Australian retailer SurfStitch is just one example in the growing trend of consolidation amongst surf-related brands. The $50 million+ initiative follows the recent misfortunes of Billabong and Quiksilver, and the efforts made by others, including Volcom and Rip Curl, to batten down the hatches due to challenging trade conditions. It all makes you wonder, “What exactly is going on with surf brands these days?”
The recent downturn is in part due to the unfortunate timing of, for example, Billabong in overextending itself by buying brands at the height of the recent financial crisis at top dollar. As equally important is the competition from other fashion retailers who are less focused on surfing and more concerned with the value of hard-pressed consumers, which has given the so-called “big guns” of surfing a run for their money.