Billabong ▲ +0.005 | PPR ▼ -1.05 | American Apparel ▼ -0.016 | The Buckle ▼ -0.41 | Columbia ▼ -0.23 | Deckers Outdoor ▲ +0.89 | Dicks ▼ -0.21 | Foot Locker ▼ -0.48 | Genesco ▼ -0.70 | Iconix Brand Group ▲ +0.10 | Jarden Corp ▼ -0.33 | Nordstrom ▼ -0.77 | Luxottica ▲ +0.52 | Nike ▼ -0.78 | Pacific Sunwear ▼ -0.01 | Skullcandy ▼ -0.42 | Sport Chalet - 0 | Urban Outfitters ▼ -0.90 | VF Corp ▼ -0.28 | Quiksilver ▼ -0.07 | Zumiez ▼ -1.31 | Macys ▲ +0.54 | Tillys ▲ +0.36 |
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3 Best Practices for High-Performing B2B Sales Reps

By Owais Farooqui, Revenue Generator, NuORDER

B2B sales are powered by data and metrics, and putting that data at the center of your sales process means a 20% boost in your ROI. And yet, 42% of B2B sales reps don’t have adequate information before they make that call. 

Read our recent post to discover three best practices that help convert B2B prospects into customers.  You'll learn how to put data-driven decision-making processes in place, how to develop one-to-one B2B customer engagement, and how to provide access to a variety of assets that can be sent and viewed on mobile platforms to keep the conversation going.

Read more here.




Avila's El Ranchito "Cheers for Charity" Benefitting SHAAC on Saturday, April 4th

By John Bernards, Director of Development, SHACC

El Ranchito in Newport Beach is turning 40 and we are having a few friends over this Saturday, April 4th at 4:00 pm to drink Margaritas and support Surfing Heritage.

Please stop by and order the Avila's Margaritas!
It should be a fun get together.

Avila's El Ranchito
Cheers for Charity

April Charity: Surfing Heritage and Culture Center

Support Surfing Heritage and Culture Center and order our Avila's Margarita! $1 per margarita ordered will go to the foundation.

El Ranchito, Newport Beach
2800 Newport Blvd.

Latest Issue: Apparel, Accessories and Footwear Market Monitor

By Rich Anderson, Managing Director, Moss Adams Capital

Here are some highlights of the latest Apparel, Accessories and Footwear Market Monitor published by Moss Adams Capital:

• Middle Market M&A activity continues to thrive, growing 17% in 2014, while middle market Apparel, Accessories, and Footwear (“AAF”) transaction volume grew 29%

• Notable recent transactions include M1 Limited and L Capital Asia agreeing to acquire Pepe Jeans, Irving Place Capital’s takeover offer for American Apparel, and Youngone acquiring majority stake in
SCOTT Sports

• Diversified Large Cap and Performance AAF stocks kept pace with the S&P 500 growing 18% and 14% respectively, while Diversified Small Cap and Aspirational stocks declined

• Median sales and EBITDA of selected AAF companies are projected to grow 7% and 12% respectively, slightly higher than the S&P 500

Read more here.

Google's New Algorithm will Favor Mobile Sites

By Randy Taylor, Founder and CEO, Taylor Digital

Starting 4/21, Google's new algorithm will favor mobile sites!

To put it plainly: if your current site isn't suitable for mobile devices, then you will lose visibility no matter how well you are playing the SEO game.

Here are all the details you need to know be sure your site is optimized for mobile devices!



Thank you: We SAVED Trestles, Again!

By Katie Ferguson, Communications Manager, Surfrider Foundation

The Surfrider Foundation announced that the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board rebuffed the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA) in its attempts to secure a necessary water quality permit for its Tesoro Extension project. The Board voted unanimously 6 to 0 to adopt findings that reinforced its decision of June 2013, when the Regional Board rejected the requested Waste Discharge Requirements permit because the full project impacts of the entire road were not disclosed to it. The Save San Onofre Coalition applauds the Board’s decision.

The Tesoro Extension comprises the first five miles of TCA’s plan to connect the 241 toll road in Orange County to Interstate 5 in San Diego County. The project is part of TCA’s 16-mile toll road project that would bisect San Onofre State Beach, California’s fifth most popular state park, and protected natural lands in the Donna O’Neill Conservancy. If the full project is built, the state parks department has indicated it will abandon 60% of the state park because of the damage the toll road would cause.

The Board rejected TCA’s application for a Waste Discharge Requirements permit because TCA had failed to adequately disclose and mitigate the damage the project would cause to water quality and other natural resources. The vote today to adopt legal findings explaining why it rejected the toll road project represents the third time the Board has voted to stop the 241 extension project because of environmental concerns.

The TCA has spent more than $300 million in public funding for a project that has been repeatedly turned down. In fact, 78 percent of Orange County opposes building the proposed toll road through San Onofre State Beach, according to an August 2014 poll.

Following is a statement from Elizabeth Goldstein on behalf of the Save San Onofre Coalition:

“The Board today voted to protect our water quality, our parks and beaches from this destructive toll road project. We commend the Board for upholding California’s water quality laws and protecting the public interest,” commented Goldstein.

“The Board responded to the overwhelming evidence that the Tesoro Extension is no more than an attempt to commence construction of a larger, environmentally destructive that has been rejected by the Board and every other agency that has considered the project to-date.”

“This project needs to be rethought from the ground up, or abandoned, rather than twisted to accommodate every rejection the TCA experiences.”

Consumer Sector Takeaways From Our ROTH Conference

By Dave King, CFA, ROTH Capital Partners

The 27th Annual ROTH OC Conference included presentations and panels featuring more than 50 publicly-held and many private Consumer companies across the Active Lifestyle, Apparel, Brand Management, Consumer Electronics, Food & Beverage, Healthy Living, Infant & Juvenile, and Restaurants subsectors. We came from this year’s 4-day event feeling incrementally more positive on select names, including Performance Sports Group, Skullcandy, and Escalade.

Brand Panel Highlights Our Growing Your Brand In 2015 panel featured the founders of American Apparel (APP, Buy), American Rag Cie, and Neff as well as the former President & CEO of Nasty Gal and Star Jones of The View fame. Panelists highlighted the importance of authenticity, consistency of brand, and philosophy of product, as well as emerging themes in “making it yourself”.

Branding & Performance Imperative In Active Lifestyle Industry companies like Performance Sports Group (PSG, Buy), Escalade (ESCA, Buy), and Gaiam (GAIA, Not Covered) seem well-positioned for continued growth given their leading brands and focus on product quality and performance. Meanwhile, strong participation growth in lacrosse, yoga, and outdoor activities should continue to provide support. PSG, in particular, looks poised for continued market share gains and we remain comfortable with near-term consensus estimates despite currency pressures.

Retailers Consolidating Number Of Electronics Accessories Vendors Skullcandy (SKUL, Buy) and ZAGG (ZAGG, Neutral) have recently benefitted from strong growth in iPhone 6, new doors both domestically and internationally, and retailers consolidating their number of preferred vendors. Skullcandy, in particular, looks positioned to benefit from new doors and shelf space at Walmart beginning in June. This, combined with continued growth in gaming, internationally, and in sell-through from new fixtures/listening stations, suggests that 2015 revenue and EPS guidance remains conservative.

M&A Multiples Moving Higher Given accommodative capital markets, we believe many consumer-focused companies are pursuing acquisitions in the absence of material end market growth. Jarden’s (JAH, Not Covered) Martin Franklin noted a frothy deal environment, but an increased number of attractive targets and still reasonable multiples. Escalade and Crown Crafts (CRWS, Buy) noted similar trends as well as increased activity.

Growing Interest In Brand Licensor Business Model Sequential Brands, (SQBG, Buy), Cherokee (CHKE, Buy), and Xcel Brands (XELB, Buy) continue to make a strong push into brand licensing, with slight variations to the traditional Iconix (ICON, Buy) business model of focusing on brand management and marketing while licensing out manufacturing and distribution. This is pushing deal multiples higher and creating a need for larger acquisitions to move the needle. While this creates certain risks, we believe the model remains attractive, given high margins, limited working capital requirements, and annuity-like revenue streams. Cherokee shares should hold up best in an environment with investors somewhat questioning this business model due to management’s conservative nature and focus on organic growth, while Sequential looks positioned for the most long-term upside given its aggressive pursuit of accretive acquisitions and strong licensee relationships.

Increased I&J Spending Spending on Infant & Juvenile products is rising, helped by increased spending per child due to older and more affluent parents and with grandparents more involved in the upbringing process. Meanwhile, the U.S. birth rate likely bottomed in 2013 and should continue to increase with higher employment and household formation.These trends should benefit companies like Crown Crafts (CRWS, Buy) and Summer Infant (SUMR, Buy).

Click Here for a full version of the report and relevant disclosures

The Future of Wholesale: Ditch the paper and go paperless!

By Owais Farooqui, Sales Development & Marketing, NuORDER

The costs to remaining staunchly analog in a digital age aren’t just physical. The hit your wholesale brand takes in terms of reputation doesn’t help your bottom line. More and more, your B2B customers are demanding a B2C experience when it’s time to make purchasing decisions. If you aren’t ready with the online assets they demand, you’re going to lose.

We explore this equation in our latest post on our new blog, www.b2becommerce.com.  The article details what companies need to do to satisfy consumers' demand for transparency of product availability across all channels, and provides valuable tips for companies considering investing in online resources.

 Read the full article here.


Surfrider's Save Trestles Campaign Hearing on Monday, March 16th

By Katie Ferguson, Communications Manager, Surfrider Foundation

One of Surfrider Foundation's biggest campaigns, SAVE Trestles, is ramping up again with a hearing happening next Monday, March 16th. We are really hoping to get OC and San Diego residents to join us and stand up to save one of our most cherished surf breaks from being destroyed by the TCA.

Next Monday, March 16, there is a hearing with the San Diego Regional Board to decide whether or not to adopt the staff’s  findings for the denial of the Tesoro Extension project (building the Toll Road in segments).

Surfrider's items won't be heard until 11 a.m., but we are asking the public to show up at 9. Here are the details:

WHEN: Monday, March 16 2015.  Meeting starts at 9am, but please arrive before 9am to guarantee a seat.

WHERE: NTC at Liberty Station, McMillin Companies Event Center, 2875 Dewey Road, San Diego, CA.

WHAT: Save Trestles once and for all!
Here is a hearing guide that includes hearing info and talking points.

Our Trestles blog is being updated regularly so feel free to check in there for updates.

Meet Surfrider Foundation’s NEW Environmental Director

By Katie Ferguson, Communications Manager, Surfrider Foundation

Pete Stauffer has been appointed the new Environmental Director of the Surfrider Foundation, the largest grassroots non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s ocean, waves and beaches. Effective immediately, Stauffer will lead the organization’s environmental department and manage its dynamic team of 10 regional and issue-focused science and policy experts who work throughout the United States.

“With a proven track record for successfully leading large scale initiatives and driving innovation, Pete’s leadership skills are well suited to lead Surfrider’s Environmental Department,” says Dr. Chad Nelsen, Chief Executive Officer of the Surfrider Foundation. “I am confident that Pete will help advance our work to address the coastal impacts of climate change while continuing our existing work to protect our oceans, waves and beaches.

During the last 10 years, Stauffer led the Surfrider Foundation’s national Ocean Protection Initiative as its Senior Ocean Program Manager, where he drove the organization’s engagement in issues such as marine protected areas, regional ocean planning and protecting our coasts from new offshore drilling. Earlier in his tenure at Surfrider, Pete paved the way for how Surfrider conducted statewide policy work as the first regional policy manager in Oregon.

“I am very honored to be the Surfrider Foundation’s new Environmental Director. I look forward to working with our environmental team to maximize the impact of our national and regional efforts across our core initiatives by strengthening the execution of our campaigns and programs, which will ultimately further our mission of protecting our ocean and coasts,” adds Pete Stauffer.

Stauffer holds a master’s degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Washington’s School of Marine and Environmental Affairs, and a bachelor’s in Environmental Policy from Duke University. After completing his master’s degree, Stauffer spent a year in Washington D.C. working for the NOAA Fisheries Service in the Office of Science and Technology. In December of 2014 he was appointed to represent non-consumptive recreational users on the Marine Protected Area Federal Advisory Committee of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Stauffer had been interim Environmental Director after Dr. Chad Nelsen, the organization’s previous Director, was named Chief Executive Officer of the Surfrider Foundation in October, 2014.

For more information about Surfrider, visit Surfrider.org.

How to Protect Your Business from Staffing Company Wage and Hour Violations

By Susan Arduengo, Associate, Friedman Stroffe & Gerard, P.C.

Businesses that utilize staffing companies should pay close attention to Assembly Bill 1897 (“AB 1897”), which took effect on January 1, 2015.  The law imposes joint liability on both the staffing company and the business for the staffing company’s wage and hour violations and/or failure to secure workers’ compensation coverage. 

AB 1897 applies to businesses with 25 or more workers, when at least 6 of those workers are provided by a staffing company to “perform labor within its usual course of business.”  For action sports manufacturers and retailers, the law applies to workers obtained through a staffing company including wholesale, production, warehouse, operations, and sales force workers, amongst others.

Businesses may wrongly assume that their staffing companies alone are liable for wage and hour violations with respect to the workers that the staffing company provides.  However, this new law was designed to hold action sports companies and other businesses that benefit from contracted labor accountable for wage and hour violations committed against workers.

Action sports companies must be cognizant of the fact that shared liability may be imposed even when the business is unaware of its staffing company’s violations.  As an example, ifa staffing company fails to timely pay wages, including overtime, or fails to provide proper meal and rest periods to its workers, the action sports company that benefits from that labor may be held jointly liable to the worker.  Similarly, a business also shares liability for its staffing company’s failure to secure adequate workers’ compensation coverage.

Best Practices for California Action Sports Companies.

Although AB 1897 no doubt seems overly harsh – requiring that a business share liability with its staffing company, even when the business had no knowledge of the staffing company’s workplace violations – a business can protect itself in a number of ways, for example:

·      Exercise Due Diligence in Selecting a Reputable Staffing Company.

Although validating workers’ compensation coverage is fairly straightforward (request a copy of the staffing company’s current workers’ compensation policy and updated copies if the business relationship continues), greater effort must be taken to verify that the staffing company’s pay practices are compliant with California law. Suggestions include requesting a sample of previously issued wage statements and W-2s (to ensure the proper withholding of income), as well as actual time cards documenting compliant meal periods for the staffing company’s workers, although these tactics would only illuminate past wage and hour violations and not necessarily indicate the propensity for future violations.  Be sure to request that the staffing company redact all sensitive employee information prior to disclosure.  Moreover, investigate whether the staffing company has Employment Practices Liability Insurance (“EPLI”) – and whether an exclusion or endorsement for wage and hour claims applies.  If there is an exclusion there would be no insurance coverage for wage and hour violations.

·      Insist on an Indemnification Provision in the Staffing Agreement.

While a blanket waiver of AB 1897 is unenforceable, the law allows for indemnification between a business and its staffing company. Action sports companies should always contract for indemnification from their staffing companies for the staffing company’s violation of wage and hour laws.  Although not exhaustive, an indemnification policy should at a minimum state that the staffing company agrees to indemnify the business for any claims, losses, damages, civil actions, or administrative claims, including court costs and attorneys’ fees, arising from the staffing company’s failure to pay wages in accordance with all applicable laws or secure sufficient workers’ compensation coverage. Further, to help ensure a proper defense in the event of litigation, action sports companies should insist on a choice of counsel provision within their staffing agreements.

If your staffing agreements require revision in light of AB 1897 or you are unsure of the effect that this new law may have on your business, you should immediately contact competent employment counsel.

About the Author:

Susan Arduengo is an associate at Friedman Stroffe & Gerard, P.C., a leading law firm serving the action sports industry.  She works closely with shareholder Robert Gerard and the rest of the firm’s Employment and Labor practice group.  Susan specializes in representing action sports manufac­turers and retailers in all aspects of employment law, including counseling/advice, compliance, litigation prevention, single plaintiff litigation, and class actions. Contact her at sarduengo@fsglawyers.com or 949.265.1133.

This article is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice.  You should contact legal counsel to obtain advice with respect to your particular issues.