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Specialty Retailers and the Board Sports Lifestyle
Surf | Skate | Snow | SUP | Wake

“4 Ways to Power Touchless Retail with Text Messaging” by Podium (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

Companies from Amazon to Zoom are rethinking their customer experience in the post-COVID era. See how innovative retailers are responding with text-based messaging, touchless payments, and more. COVID-19 has completely transformed consumer behavior. 85% of consumers have chosen a new business because of pandemic friendly services and 86% say they expect businesses to be even more convenient after COVID-19 restrictions lift completely everywhere. It’s not surprising that 80% of consumers would like local businesses to continue offering curbside pickup options. Companies like Amazon, Doordash, and Netflix have also upped customers’ expectations for convenience. And retailers can meet these expectations with a few tips from the experts. In this session of the 2020 Total Retail Innovation Conference, Katie Osberg, Global Retail Partnerships Lead at Google, and Doug Regner, VP of Enterprise Sales at Podium, share four ways to power touchless retail with text messaging. Read on for the takeaways from this discussion: 1. Grow location reviews with text messaging.  89% of consumers begin their buying process with a search engine. Searches containing “near me” have grown 9x more popular since 2016. Google Map Pack chooses three businesses to highlight based on star ratings, number of reviews, and frequency of reviews. And 70% of clicks on a local search will happen in that map pack. In order to grow and optimize your online and local presence, you’ll need the help of reviews.  Follow these steps to get started: Check to see if you’re listed on Google My Business. If not, create a Google My Business accountVerify your businessEnter or update business informationPeriodically add or update information, especially relating to COVID hours, pickup services, etc.Generate reviews The most effective... read more

“Why raising minimum wage is no longer enough to draw in retail workers – Workers are not responding to these cues as they traditionally have. Why? Most retailers are using an outdated hiring playbook” by David Ritter and Conor Gaffney via Retail Dive

Editor’s note: The following is a guest post from David Ritter, a managing director, and Conor Gaffney, an associate in the consumer and retail group, at global professional services firm Alvarez and Marsal. They can be reached at dritter@alvarezandmarsal.com and cgaffney@alvarezandmarsal.com, respectively. Views are the authors’ own. It’s no secret that U.S. retailers have struggled immensely to fill employment gaps and maintain staffing levels as store traffic has returned in recent months. According to recent U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics, after significant growth in June — up by 67,000 — retail hiring flattened, then decreased in July (down 6,000) and August (down 29,000). At a macro level, the number of individuals employed by retail companies still sits about 300,000 workers below pre-pandemic levels, despite retailers’ increasingly desperate attempts to hire additional staff.     With the critical holiday season approaching, this strategic challenge — which already looks for all the world like a great reset — will be exacerbated by seasonal hiring efforts. In response, large retailers including CVS, Walgreens Boots Alliance and Walmart are all increasing their minimum wages to attract workers. Unfortunately, workers are not responding to these cues as they traditionally have, causing some companies to report that they will remain understaffed into the holidays. Why? For one main reason, most retailers are using an outdated hiring playbook — an approach with a critical lack in understanding of their current and future employees — and are, in turn, relying on the easiest lever in that playbook, minimum wage, in a misguided hope that staffing will eventually recover.     Why aren’t higher minimum wages the answer?   A recent study of retail associates by retail operations platform Zipline found that a significant... read more

“Will overstocking get retailers through the holidays?” by Tom Ryan via Retail Wire

Big box retailers are pulling forward orders earlier than normal and aggressively investing in core items as supply chain bottlenecks threaten to lead to empty shelves over the holiday season. In many cases, inventories are up double-digit percentage points compared to last year’s pandemic-depressed levels and also up over the same period in 2019. Target inventories at the close of the second quarter were up 26 percent year over year. John Mulligan, COO, told analysts Target’s inventories are “well-positioned” to drive holiday sales against record year-ago gains, although the situation is not optimal. “Our guests are still seeing empty shelves on some occasions,” he said. “In some of those situations, we’ve simply sold beyond our expectations, and our team is working quickly to secure additional quantities. In other cases, the vendors themselves are facing constraints in their ability to deliver product. And we’re collaborating with them to address these constraints together, securing as much product as possible on behalf of our guests.” Speaking last week at Goldman Sachs’ conference, Lowe’s CFO David Denton said the home improvement chain has placed bigger orders for high-demand items and its inventory position is in better shape than it was six to 12 months ago. At Best Buy, inventories at the second quarter’s end surged 55 percent year over year and 23 percent versus two years ago. CEO Corie Barry told analysts merchants worked strategically to bring in as much inventory as possible during the quarter with actions like acquiring additional transportation, pulling up product flow and adjusting store assortment based on availability. She said, “There will continue to be challenges, particularly as it relates to congested ports... read more

“New Social Commerce Tools Can Boost Businesses This Holiday Season” by Thibaud Clément via Total Retail

A breadth of new social commerce tools and features will make shopping online this holiday season look very different from years past. Throughout the past year, e-commerce has seen an enormous boom fueled by physical retail limitations and closures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, businesses have sought innovative ways to connect with customers through online experiences, and the growth of social commerce has played a key role in facilitating those efforts. Major social platforms, including Instagram and Twitter, are pushing new features to facilitate commerce directly within their platforms. For businesses to get the most out of their social media presence, they should be familiar with how each of these new tools, from integrated shopping posts to live shopping, can help grow their business this holiday season. Take Advantage of Social Commerce Social commerce provides some significant advantages compared to other methods of online retailing. For example, social media allows businesses to test how consumers will react to certain products or campaigns before having to spend a single dollar on ads. We can observe the successful use of social commerce in action by looking at Facebook’s ecosystem. Facebook Shops allows businesses to set up stores within both Facebook and Instagram. By following this route, companies can avoid redirecting consumers towards other websites, which can often distract or dissuade potential customers from completing their purchases. The seamless social commerce process provides consumers with a complete shopping experience integrated into their existing social media activities. This makes for a shopping experience that’s both easier and more personal for consumers, leading to increased sales. Social commerce makes the online... read more

“Watch Now: ‘The Curious Tales of Italo Ferreira – THE EPIC BIOPIC ABOUT THE 2019 WORLD CHAMP AND OLYMPIC GOLD MEDALIST IS FINALLY HERE’ by Surfer Mag

Trailer: The Curious Tales of Italo Ferreira (push play) Roughly 18 years ago, in a small fishing town located along the northeastern curve of Brazil, current World Champ and 2021 Olympic Gold Medalist Italo Ferreira first learned how to surf on a chunk of styrofoam. Since then, Ferreira’s subsequent rise to surf stardom and above-the-lip supremacy has made him one of the most recognizable faces in surfing–and, in typical Italo fashion, he’s showing no signs of slowing down. The World Champ’s life story–from his gromhood days in Baia Formosa to his most recent podium ascension in Japan–is told beautifully in “The Curious Tales of Italo Ferreira”, the brand-new documentary above, directed by Luiza De Moraes and scored by Ed Cortes. Filled with stories from his friends and family back home–and sprinkled generously with the spring-loaded surfing that’s made Ferreira so famous–the biopic above is not one to be missed. Click play to learn more about how Ferreira became one of the most talented surfers of all time. Click here to view the actual documentary: https://www.surfer.com/videos/watch-the-curious-tales-of-italo-ferreira-surf-movie/?utm_source=postup&utm_medium=email&em_hash=870421b8dbb925a191c44f9e86d4b9d4 If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“SKATEBOARDING IS FASHION – NYFW, The Olympics, Pants, and ZZ Top” by Anthony Pappalardo of Artless Industria®

Last week, I attended a panel discussion celebrating the release of Kyle Beachy’s new title The Most Fun Thing: Dispatches from a Skateboard Life at the McNally Jackson Seaport book store in Manhattan. The panelists included Beachy, Jessica Edwards, Noah Johnson, Willy Staley, Alexis Sablone and moderator, Steve Rodriguez. Throughout the spirited discussion, two key topics emerged: The Olympics and pants. The latter has become an in-joke/trope of #SkateTwitter, spawning various threads, fit checks, and general discourse but as I left the event and walked through the Seaport I dug a bit deeper into the Olympics and Pants, talked into my phone as a form of notetaking, and now, the morning after the Met Gala, seems like the perfect time to discuss these events. This is how my New York Fashion Week began. The core idea of gawking at rich people and celebrities’ clothes is banal. In fact, most people who attend events during New York Fashion Week are not fashionable nor do they care about fashion. Several years ago I attended an event held in a SoHo storefront where ZZ Top performed sponsored by a whiskey brand. I noticed an older gentleman at the bar who—like most of the older people in attendance—was wearing a very ostentatious outfit. I did not care about his clothes as I was fairly sure it was James Goldstein, a businessman who attends 100 NBA games a year. Like Spike Lee, he’s a superfan but he doesn’t yell as much. I politely approached him and we talked about the Boston Celtics before I went outside to smoke a marijuana cigarette with some people... read more

“Remarkable new BRA Distinguished Retail Member benefit plus video showcasing outstanding new Supporting Vendor Partner” by Doug Works, Executive Director of Board Retailers Association

Push play to learn more about PartnerShip (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner) and how you can benefit BRA strives to be the definitive resource for active sport retailers and we’re always looking for ways to help your business be successful. We’re excited to announce a brand-new benefit available to BRA Distinguished Retail Members that will save you money by spending less on shipping. With the BRA Shipping Program, managed by PartnerShip®, you save 50% on FedEx Express and 30% on FedEx Ground. If you’re receiving inbound freight shipments from your vendors, you’ll also have access to competitive rates with UPS Freight, YRC Freight, XPO, and many others. To take advantage of this free benefit, enroll now. To learn more about the BRA Shipping Program, call PartnerShip at 800-599-2902 or email sales@PartnerShip.com.     If you are not yet a BRA Distinguished Retail Member, please complete the super simple join form (choose the Distinguished Retail Membership option).  Shortly after we receive your join form, we will email you an invoice with payment instructions for the $99 Annual Dues as well as the link to access the BRA Office Depot Preferential Pricing Program and summary of additional Supporting Vendor Partner benefits for BRA Retail Members. Once your payment is received, we will notify the good people at PartnerShip who will approve your enrollment and enable you to take advantage of the savings in a timely... read more

“Carissa Moore and Gabriel Medina Are Officially the 2021 World Champions – RECAPPING A HISTORIC DAY OF COMPETITIVE SURFING” by staff writer at Surfer Mag

After a historic day of competitive surfing at Lower Trestles yesterday, Carissa Moore and Gabriel Medina are officially your 2021 World Champions. The Rip Curl WSL Finals offered a new format to decide the final World No. 1s–and thanks to pumping conditions, it kept surf fans on their seats throughout each and every heat. To watch all of the day’s highlights, hit play above. And to read a full recap of Moore and Medina’s victories, continue reading the WSL’s presser below: Carissa Moore (HAW) and Gabriel Medina (BRA) are the undisputed 2021 World Surf League (WSL) Champions after defeating Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) and Filipe Toledo (BRA) today in their respective Title Matches at the Rip Curl WSL Finals. It was an exhilarating day of surfing at the first-ever, one-day winner-take-all event in pumping, six-to-eight foot south swell at Lower Trestles. Medina and Moore both entered the Rip Curl WSL Finals as World No.1, which gave them the advantage of a place in the best-of-three Title Match where the first surfer to win two out of three heats becomes the undisputed 2021 World Champion. Carissa Moore Wins 5th World TitleMoore came into the event as the reigning WSL Champion, World No. 1 and Olympic gold medallist and her victory marks the first time in her career that she has claimed back-to-back World Titles. Moore has been the most consistent surfer on Tour this season and is the only person to reach the Semifinals or better in all seven events. The five-time World Champion has finished 3rd or better at every CT event since the 2019 Margaret River Pro and 2021... read more

“15 Ways to Increase Retailers’ Profit Margins” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

Retailers’ profit margins have been more relevant than ever lately … It all started with curbside pickup, the only way many stores could sell their products during the Covid-19 pandemic. Now, some experts are suggesting retailers add similar programs: “You should really offer social shopping.”“Why don’t you ship and return for free?”“Can’t you deliver to trunk like Amazon?” This advice is well-intentioned but misinformed. If you’ve got the same resources as Amazon, Walmart, or Target, great! Add as many bells and whistles to your retail sales strategy as you like.  But if you’re anything like the retailers I know, you don’t have unlimited capital from stockholders. And programs like these take funding — additional costs you’ll have to compensate for elsewhere.  The truth is, improving your retailers’ profit margin is a two-step process: Step 1: Know your average profit margin (and a good margin to shoot for.) Don’t worry. I’ll make this process easy for you, even if you’re not a “numbers person.” Step 2: Implement my 15 proven ways to increase your retail profit margin — no complicated programs or freebies required.  Ready to get started? Good. Let’s dive in. What is retail margin? “If you don’t know your numbers, you don’t know your business.” – Marcus Lemonis So, what is retail margin? If you’re an accounting whiz, feel free to skip ahead. For the rest of us who could use a quick refresher on some bookkeeping fundamentals, here are the numbers you need to grow your business: Gross retail profit margin is the percent of revenue that remains after deducting the cost of goods sold. It doesn’t account for additional operating expenses... read more

“Shoppers returning to their earlier pandemic behaviors, research finds” by Daphne Howland via Retail Dive

kajakiki via Getty Images Dive Brief: Consumers are retrenching in the face of the delta variant of the coronavirus, with 20% “highly optimistic” about a return to normal, down from a third at the beginning of the summer, according to Numerator research. Nearly 60% are “very or somewhat concerned” about holiday plans being disrupted by the pandemic, Berkeley Research Group found.The number of people who said they had resumed pre-COVID behaviors fell for the first time, from 39% in July to 27% in August, Numerator said. Nearly half say they expect a full reopening to be delayed until 2022 or later, up from 23% who said so in July and 18% in June, the firm found. The comfort level of shopping without a mask dropped 15 percentage points from July to August, with 34% preferring to go in stores with mask requirements and 36% having a higher level of respect for businesses that enforce mask wearing, per Numerator research.  Dive Insight: After waning this year, troublesome uncertainty is gaining strength, as the delta variant of the virus spreads and immunization rates in many areas falter. Wells Fargo economists noted that new COVID-19 cases were averaging about 100,000 daily at the time of their August economic outlook report, but had risen to more than 150,000 per day at the time of their September report last week.  “As a result, Americans have generally become more cautious,” they noted. To address the renewed strength of the disease and its risks to health, life and the economy, President Joe Biden last week announced an unprecedented move to require large businesses to vaccinate their employees or have any unvaccinated employees produce a... read more

“September Surf Expo Health and Safety Guidelines and link to SES Interview with Roy Turner about the Show plus retailer registration, BRA specific events and Surf Expo highlight videos” via the awesome people behind Surf Expo

Surf Expo is the largest and longest running watersports and beach lifestyle tradeshow in the world. Since 1976, retailers from around the globe have relied on Surf Expo to identify new trends, new brands, and to get business done. Don’t miss your chance to be a part of this vibrant, award winning marketplace! Surf Expo is excited to welcome our board specialty retailers back to forge new relationships and celebrate old ones with Vendors and each other. The Surf team is committed to creating an event experience at the Orange County Convention Center’s West Concourse where their customers, partners and employees can safely and effectively conduct business. Show Dates:  September 9th through 11th, 2021 (Waterfest Sept. 8th)Location:  Orange County Convention Center, West Concourse, Orlando, FL  | View Map Show Hours: Thursday & Friday: 9 am to 6 pmSaturday:  9 am to 4 pm Register for the Show: Click HereMake Your Hotel Reservation: Click HereTo view the Exhibitor List:  Click Here BRA Specific Events at Surf Expo: BRA Retailer Roundtable Panel Discussion on The Stage (Thursday, Sept. 9th at 2 pm). BRA Retailer Gathering/ Happy Hour in The Neighborhood Lounge (Thursday, Sept. 9th at 4:30 pm). HEALTH + SAFETY GUIDELINES AT SURF EXPO Updated: August 27, 2021 In line with CDC guidelines, everyone is required to wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status while at the show and all show functions (this includes the show floor and registration areas). Masks will also be provided at the event if needed. Surf Expo is excited to welcome our buyers and vendors back to forge new relationships and celebrate old ones. Our team is committed to creating an event experience... read more

“Ending prices that end in 99 cents” by Al McLain and 29 Retail Experts via Retail Wire

Retailers might want to rethink doing away with prices that end with “.99” if they believe the results of new research from researchers at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business. The study found that setting prices “just below” round numbers (i.e., $19.95, $19.97 or $19.99 instead of $20) can make consumers less likely to spend to upgrade to a more expensive version or size of the product or service. In a coffee stand experiment done on campus, the researchers changed prices hourly, offering a small coffee for 95 cents, or a larger cup for $1.20. Every other hour they would change the offering to $1 for a small cup or a larger cup for $1.25, so both sizes of coffee cost more. When using the latter pricing scheme, 56 percent of customers upgraded to the larger size, versus 29 percent who did so with the first pricing scheme. The researchers concluded that while the just-below price makes a product seem like a bargain, it also makes the step up to the premium product seem too expensive. “Going from $19.99 to $25 may seem like it will cost more than going from $20 to $26, even though it is actually less,” lead author doctoral student Junha Kim said in a statement. “Crossing that round number threshold makes a big difference for consumers.” Students in a lab study were also more likely to choose a costlier car or apartment options when base prices were just above round numbers, rather than just below. The study appears to indicate a shortcoming in the theory around charm pricing, or psychological pricing, that holds that goods priced using... read more

“How to Motivate a Retail Employee” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

How to motivate retail employees …  It’s a subject retailers routinely ask about. My answer is always the same: You don’t. That might sound strange coming from a motivational speaker, so let me explain. You can try to motivate a retail employee with the “do this or else you’re fired” speech. But fear only goes so far — and you only get to use this tactic once or twice during a person’s employment.  And sure, you can try to boost an employee’s motivation by constantly giving compliments to improve their self-image. But this is problematic, too. Trying to pour good feelings into a bucket with a hole in it becomes increasingly frustrating — and doesn’t fill up the bucket. Soon, you’ll give up, and you won’t have more sales (or more motivated staff) to show for it. Before we learn how to motivate retail employees to sell, we must brush up on our managerial skills and understand what employee motivation actually entails. Let’s dive in. What exactly is employee motivation? Do you associate motivation with achieving goals?  Then you’re a goals-driven retailer, and you’re probably a Driver personality. I am, too. You’re like a hungry bunny. And the sales bonus or award? That’s like a carrot dangling in front of you.  You only need to know what or how many to sell, and you’re ready to go with your retail strategy. That’s because winning is important to you (as it is to me.)  If everyone were a Driver personality, then retail games to motivate employees would be a great idea. But here’s the thing: not everyone is. There are many personality types, each with different motivations.  The opposite personality style of a Driver is the Amiable personality. This retail employee... read more

“ANCIENT SKATE SPOTS FOR YOUR NEXT SESSION” by Justin The Intern via Jenkem Mag

What if I told you there are some spots that are centuries-old (maybe even millennia-old) that have never seen a truck touch the marble on which they’re built? Stairs that were graced by the feet of Greek gods that have yet to be kickflipped…Today, many of these ancient sites are overrun with clueless tourists and vendors peddling shirts with bad slogans like “I went to the Colosseum and all I got was this stupid T-Shirt.” It may make these spots seem like a nightmare to skate, but crowds and security have never stopped skaters from getting clips. We can’t condone skating these historic pieces of architecture and holy sites, but we also can’t say we would hate to see it go down. If you do decide to do a hardflip for Hercules, just don’t tell them Jenkem sent you. VALLEY OF THE KINGS, EGYPT The Valley of the Kings is an ancient burial ground for Egyptian Pharaohs and other dignitaries. King Tut is buried there if that interests you. If you’re reading Jenkem, it probably doesn’t. What should really interest you is the massive bank in front of the tombs. The ramp extends all the way from the top of the complex and is made of perfect limestone. Having never bombed a hill in Northern California myself, this looks like a more relaxed version for newcomers. Hopefully, none of the mummies lying nearby have cursed the spot and will only bless the session. VOLUBILIS, MOROCCO This is the El Toro of the Arab world. In recent years, crews have been heading to Morocco to skate the North African architecture... read more

“Why Inventory Management Matters” by RICS Software (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

It’s not easy to keep inventory in line. You analyze sales trends to make decisions. You review margins, sell-thru, and return on investment to evaluate profitability. You create buy plans, propose reorders and cancellations, and you suggest markdowns. All this just to keep your inventory in line. Inventory management is crucial to thesuccess of your business. Why? Because accurate purchase order planning is a necessary step towards optimal profit. Inventory influences sales.Sales drive business.Business creates profit.And profit measures success. Having the right product at the right place at the right time is the reason why sales occur, making it crucial to use all the information at your disposal to make inventory management decisions. When you’re not selling merchandise, you’re losing money. Period. The longer you hold on to merchandise that isn’t moving out the door, the more moneyyou are losing. In this article, we will share the 7 best practices on how best to manage your inventory, putting you in charge of you store’s success. When you’re not selling merchandise, you’re losing money. Period. Plan before you buyUse your data to plan out your assortment rather than reordering using the same quantities you always have for convenience’s sake. In the long run, profits beat convenience. Take the time to analyze which items are profitable and use past numbers as a guide to forecast future demand. Only after thoughtful data-driven planning should you start writing purchase orders. If you’re in the process of ordering merchandise for a particular season, use historical data as a benchmark for pricing decisions and sell-thru rates. Too often, merchants get stuck pricing seasonal or trend-driven... read more

“Resolve Retail Customer Complaints in 4 Easy Steps” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

It’s never easy dealing with a retail customer service issue. Sometimes it may seem like someone is looking to find trouble, but complaining customers are most often just looking for a solution to a frustrating problem. If you provide excellent customer service, go the extra mile for your customers, and follow procedures then complaints should be rare. When they do occur, however, stay calm. Breathe. I know, staying calm is tough when your patience is challenged by complaining customers! But customer service means taking the good with the bad. Use this four-step system to deliver excellent customer service:  1. ListenLet the customer voice their complaint without interruption. The biggest mistake is second-guessing a customer service gripe and trying to cut them off before they have finished their story. Use this time as your chance to identify what it is they are REALLY upset about. Remember, don’t take it personally. It’s probably not about you. 2. AcknowledgeSay you understand and are sorry for the situation. An unhappy customer wants your attention and understanding. You won’t lose dignity or concede to being wrong by making the customer feel that you understand their frustration. Remember, you are saying you understand. You are not saying you agree or will give them the moon. They’ll also be more receptive to your solution. 3. SolveOffer the dissatisfied customer real solutions, telling them what you CAN do for them. Don’t dwell on what you can’t do. You might begin by asking what they would like you to do. They may actually require very little. Sometimes we hear “I want my money back” instead of “I want to exchange this.” Resolve the complaint on... read more

“Tony Hawk releases limited $500 skateboard with his BLOOD infused into paint… and it SELLS OUT within 20 MINUTES” by Justin Enriquez via DailyMail.com

Blood, sweat, and tears: Tony Hawk released a $500 skateboard deck with his actual blood infused into the paint in collaboration with sponsor Liquid Death Mountain Water He is the greatest skateboarder of all-time and has done it all from being the first to ever land a ‘900’ and was the first ever to skateboard on White House grounds with permission from officials. And Tony Hawk recently enjoyed perhaps the weirdest first of all. The 53-year-old professional skateboarder released a $500 skateboard deck with his actual blood infused into the paint in collaboration with sponsor Liquid Death Mountain Water. He was shown sitting in the middle of a half-pipe as his blood was being drawn as he said: ‘Hey what’s up I’m Tony Hawk and I recently became an ambassador for Liquid Death Mountain Water. Impressive: Despite the steep price tag, many just had to own the novelty item as all 100 decks were sold out within a mere 20 minutes of the item being posted on the canned water company’s website Despite the steep price tag, many just had to own the novelty item as all 100 decks were sold out within a mere 20 minutes of the item being posted on the canned water company’s website. Skateboarding living legend Tony was featured in a video posted by the company as he explained the process in how they were made. ‘Apparently I didn’t read the fine print and now liquid death officially owns my soul and my blood too. I don’t know it’s very confusing, they’re taking out my blood, and we’re going to use it for skateboard graphics.’ The clip... read more

“Skateboarding Is In The Olympics; Now PhD Neftalie Williams Is Bringing It To The Ivy League” by Michelle Bruton via Forbes

Dr. Neftalie Williams lecturing in his skateboarding course at USC alongside legendary skateboarder … [+]NEFTALIE WILLIAMS There’s no question that as skateboarding has soared into the Olympics this summer in Tokyo, it has reached new heights. But to Dr. Neftalie Williams, it would be a mistake—and a missed opportunity—for the world to focus on skateboarding reaching a new peak without considering the climb. A University of Southern California provost/postdoctoral scholar and Yale Schwarzman Center visiting fellow who studies the intersection of race, culture and community through the lens of skateboarding, Williams sees this moment as the culmination of decades of work building skateboarding culture. “This is the history of decades of fights and advocacy and allyship that has gone on to get us to the point where people are even interested in having us on a big stage,” Williams said. “The pinnacle for us in skateboarding is not that we went to the Olympics,” Williams added. “The pinnacle is when people celebrate and understand skateboarding culture; when the everyday person celebrates skateboarding culture, that’s the pinnacle.” How do we teach skateboarding culture to those outside the community? Well, what if skateboarding were included in the curriculum at Ivy League universities? That’s been Williams’ aspiration throughout his career as a sociologist, which saw him earn his undergraduate degree in communication and his master’s in public diplomacy at USC Annenberg, followed by obtaining a Ph.D. in sport and culture from the University of Waikato. With that background, he was able to teach the United States’ first course about skateboarding, USC’s “Skateboarding and Action Sports in Business, Media, and Culture.” In his new... read more

“Selema Masekela Is Right: Action Sports Still Have a Long Way to Go” by Joe Carberry via The Inertia

Selema Masekela, the voice. Photo: Jeremy Deputat/Red Bull Content Pool Selema Masekela is a generational voice. Not just because he’s articulate. Because he’s put time in. He started answering phones at Transworld as an intern in the nineties. He announced every beach, skate, and snow event he could as a side hustle, then became the face of the X Games. And he can actually surf and snowboard. Like, really well. Aside from the athletes, there’s no one more respected in the world of action sports than Selema Masekela. Then he branched out, moving into the mainstream realm with ESPN, and E!, the celebrity gossip show we only watched because he was hosting. But talk to Selema for even a minute and it’s clear, at 49, he doesn’t really give a shit about those accolades anymore. Yeah, he’s good at his job. But he’s focused on something bigger. After George Floyd’s murder, Selema’s role in our world took on a whole new meaning. He’s been there to guide us and to remind everyone that yes, racial injustice really does exist in this space. Not everyone has been given the opportunity to take off on a set wave or ride powder. This isn’t new territory for him. He’s been reminding us for years, putting the work in with his Stoked Mentoring program to get more kids of color involved. Last spring, when things came to a boil socially, Selema was there to disseminate the chaos, to inspire change, which started with himself, taking back his birth name, and leading rallies. He’s not done. Not even close. In fact, he’s just getting started. I ran into him recently in Japan... read more

“BRA Book Review – ‘The Tao of Skateboarding: Rolling Through Life: A Skateboard Philosophy, Volume 1’ by A.E. Gold” by BRA Executive Director Doug Works

Book description: A modern interpretation of the original Tao Te Ching. The meter has been preserved to its original intent, while the subject matter is about skateboarders and non-skateboarders instead of merchants and farmers. May this bring peace, empathy, compassion, and stoke to all who hear it. Short excerpt from Verse 2: Relative “We know style because there is stinkbug. We know good skateboarding by how it feels. We know bad skateboarding by how it looks. Being hurt and not being hurt, create each other. Difficult and easy, long and short, define each other. Just as push and roll follow each other.” Short excerpt from Verse 15: Know Your History “During the steel wheel era skaters knew their board through subtlety and grace. Because this is so foreign to us, we can only describe their skating with great effort. They were cautious to look for any crash inducing crack. Wary of any size pebble that would end in pain, dignified like golfers yielding like rotten wood innocent as a brand new board open like an empty skatepark turning freely like broke-in trucks. But today, who can wait for their trucks to break in?” BRA Book Review Both the Author (Ari Evan Gold) and I have known each other and skateboarded together many times over the past 30 odd years starting way back in the early 90s in Tampa. A few months ago, I noticed a post on Linked-In that contained a link to The Tao of Skateboarding on Audible so I communicated with him about his writing and his skateboarding as well as what he has been doing in... read more

“Exciting New Rx Benefits Added To BRA LIG Association Health Program” via BRA Supporting Vendor Partner LIG Solutions

To the members of Board Retailers Association: We have exciting news to share with you! As you may have heard Board Retailers Association has partnered with LIG Solutions to bring our members comprehensive and affordable health coverage solutions that are designed for individuals, families, and business owners along with their employees across the United States. They have just released a brand-new element to this program that we are excited to introduce to you! As a part of the LIG Association Health Program, our members can now take advantage of the brand-new LIG Solutions Rx, which is a national pharmacy program that is revolutionizing the way you get your Prescription Drugs and their pricing. This is a cost-effective monthly membership program (NOT a discount/savings card or insurance) that has real pharmacists, based out of Akron, Ohio assisting you, the member. They are focused on helping our members achieve the highest quality of life through medication, counseling, education, and adherence to the latest pharmacology standards. The LIG Solutions Rx Benefits include: Set pricing on all medications:Acute medications (immediate need)Chronic medications (maintenance)Over-the-counter medications (ex: Allegra, Advil, Tylenol)Pick up at any pharmacy at a set price for acute medicationsHome delivery service for chronic and over-the-counter medicationsExclusive SaveOnDiabetes program, which includes:No cost meters and a starter kit with test strips/lancetsLow-cost test strips and lancetsFREE oral diabetes medicationsInsulin for $19.88 per vialMost acute medications are $5/21 day, and chronic medications are $15/90 day supply.All medications are American sourced and shipped securely with trackingLicensed Pharmacist coaching to ensure you’re getting the most cost-effective options To learn more about this program, visit www.LIGmembers.com/boardretailersassociation and click on the... read more

“How to Retain Workers in the ‘Next Normal'” by Greg Dyer via Total Retail

The dust from the pandemic is finally settling, but a new storm is gathering for employers. U.S. quit rates are higher than ever, with an eye-popping 95 percent of workers saying they’re considering changing jobs. If 2020 was full of talk about how to attract talent during a global pandemic, then 2021 will be about how to keep them during “The Great Resignation” that followed. With the clock ticking, now is the time to re-evaluate your retention strategy and implement these practices to improve your retention. Invest in Mental Health Forty-two percent of adults reported increased feelings of anxiety and depression during the pandemic. When you consider that the global cost of poor mental health exceeds $2.5 trillion annually, investing in the health and wellness of your team isn’t just the right thing to do — it’s sound business as well. The good news is that companies have been rising to the occasion. In our recent next-normal survey, 41 percent of workers told us that their employers had started offering new health and wellness benefits in 2020. It’s a good start, but retaining talent in 2021 will require even greater buy-in from employers. Related story: Ways to Attract Skilled Talent in Today’s Tight Labor Market Recognize Hard Work Studies have shown that showing gratitude to employees increases productivity, but keeping top performers on their game (and at your organization) takes more than just an award or acknowledgement of their hard work. As always, actions speak louder than words: Give them a platform to inspire others through attending events or leading presentations as a concrete demonstration of your faith in them. For newer or lower-performing workers, consider developing a... read more

“Office Depot Exclusive BRA Member Savings Program now available for all BRA Regular (no cost) and all BRA Distinguished Retail Members plus brand new video elaborating on this outstanding Member Benefit”

The Mission of Board Retailers Association is to consolidate the voices, the experiences and the visions of Board Specialty Retailers into a cohesive organization. We do this by identifying ways to lower day to day expenses, to increase profit margins and to create more remarkable customer experiences for our Retail Members. Speaking of lowering expenses, this video may help you realize that there is one place where you can save on a ton of products and services just because you are a BRA Retail Member. Push play to learn what BRA Supporting Vendor Partner Office Depot can provide to all BRA Retail Members As a BRA Retail Member, you will have a voice, you will benefit from BRA relationships and you will have access to a number of BRA programs and resources including the new Office Depot Exclusive Preferential BRA Member Savings Program. The image and video above elaborate on this outstanding Member Benefit, which is available to both Regular (no cost) and Distinguished Retail Members. If you are interested in improving your business, click on the following link to learn about both BRA Retail Membership options: https://www.boardretailers.org/retail-membership/ Soon after you complete the following super simple join form, we will email you the link to gain access to this rad program and begin saving on over 20,000 Office Depot Products and Services: https://www.boardretailers.org/join-bra/ #boardretailersassociation... read more

“Best Cross Selling and Upselling in Retail Tips (including instructional video)” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

Cross selling and upselling in retail are the foundation of raising the average ticket. Cross selling in retail is the art of suggesting additional, complementary products to someone who has already decided on a purchase. Here’s one of my examples of upselling. Think of restaurant servers who, when you order a piece of pie or cake, ask, “Do you want a scoop of vanilla ice cream with that?”.This example of a product upsell has been used for years and for good reason. It simply and elegantly illustrates the point and best practices of cross selling. You’ve already decided you’re going to treat yourself. The server has made a sale. Then the server comes back to offer you ice cream too. Why? Because they know that vanilla ice cream goes great with pie or cake. They’ve offered you additional value, while potentially earning themselves extra revenue…and a higher tip, don’t forget. So, you think to yourself, “I like ice cream. Ice cream would be tasty right now. It’s only a little more money to get a lot more out of my order. Ok, I’ll go with the a la mode.” The server has successfully employed the necessary upselling techniques for cross selling, and you’ve gotten an extra treat. Everybody wins. Selling is nothing more than a transference of feeling, because I feel good about products or services, I can easily share that. How does upselling work in a retail business? While the products are significantly different, the selling strategy, techniques, and approach are surprisingly similar. Cross-Selling Tips for Retailers Cross selling is about giving a boost to the foot traffic that already... read more

BRA Book Review of “The Radical Undersea Journey of Mr. Dude by Vipe Desai” by BRA Executive Director Doug Works

A surfer at heart, Mr. Dude is someone who – like so many of us, unfortunately – never put a whole lot of thought into the ways that his decisions and behaviors affected the environment around him. He used plastic straws, he guzzled one bottled water after another, and he carried things around in plastic bags. A local surf hero, he was content not to know the effect that he was having on the ocean that was so dear to his heart. It was not something that he did out of meanness or malice: rather, he lacked any real intentions. He did what he did thoughtlessly. Introducing: The Radical Undersea Journey of Mr. Dude by Vipe Desai In this book, Mr. Dude is in for an awakening – rude, important, and life-changing. The Radical Undersea Journey of Mr. Dude is a children’s picture book that tells the tale, beginning with the local surf hero’s eco-unfriendly exploits and leading into the momentous day on which he finds himself transformed into a fish. As a fish, Mr. Dude sees firsthand just how tremendous is the destruction he has sewn. A fun and impactful adventure, this is one that I am confident will inspire loving hearts and real action, encouraging the next generation to do what is right for our planet by cultivating a sense of awareness and responsibility with regards to our roles in the world. – Vipe Desai (the Author) A portion of the proceeds from the book will benefit Vote The Ocean! Board Specialty Retail Shops can order books by emailing: donate@votetheocean.org BRA Book Review Recently, I checked my mailbox and found an... read more

“WE ASKED A SPORTS GAMBLING EXPERT ABOUT BETTING ON OLYMPIC SKATEBOARDING” by Ian Michna via Jenkem Mag

No matter how you feel about skating being in the Olympics, there’s no denying that it’s been an exciting time for skateboarding. Competitive skating may be stale, but one factor that has added some spice into the mix is that sportsbooks have opened up betting for skate events. That means we can all put money down on our favorite skaters and actually have some sort of stake in the game while watching, instead of just twiddling our thumbs giving armchair critiques to a guy in Cariumas. We know gambling’s not for everyone, but for those who are interested in being degenerates, we tracked down a professional sports gambler to ask about how odds are calculated and if the betting world really is as grimy as they make it seem in movies and TV. What’s the deal with the legality of gambling on sports in the USA?We have a situation, like marijuana, where half the states are legal and half the states aren’t. Just the other day, I was in an Uber on my way from New Jersey to New York playing poker on my phone and I was playing up until the bridge. Literally, as you cross into New York the app will turn off and say “your geolocation…” So that’s where we’re at, but it’s changing. You can bet on skateboarding online, but are there still old-school bookies around in person?Yeah, some people bet through illegal bookies in New York still. Many of them have been in the business for a long time, I’ve known one guy for 25 years. We’re from the same town. Is it sketchy dealing with them?I... read more

“5 Cash Flow Tips For Retailers In August” by Bob Phibbs via The Retail Doctor newsletter

Whether you call it your bankroll, your finances, or how much money you have in your pocket, cash flow is its movement in and out of your business. Every retail store owner knows that cash is the heart of their operation but oftentimes you have ongoing expenses that may have to wait until you get the sales in. After the pandemic and with supply lines out of sync with demand it can be more stressful to try to balance the books.  What is Cash Flow?  Cash flow is the movement of money in and out of your business true but it is also available funding to meet your obligations like payroll.  As any store owner who has had to make payroll in a bleak month like January, it’s all about planning ahead and limiting payouts. August is a good month for retailers to pause and look ahead to the holidays and the cash flow they’ll need to get there without too much sweat. While the month may be slow in terms of customer count – unless you do great back-to-school business – August is the perfect time to examine your revenues and expenses through the rest of the year. Many demands will be placed on your cash flow as the holiday shopping season heats up. While these strategies are primarily designed to help you in the last quarter of the year, they must be implemented in August to be effective and improve your cash flow. Here are five cash flow tips that will help you best place your energies: 1. Invest in Inventory – You already know over half your... read more

“Cater to Your Customers — Locally” by Catherine Schetting Salfino via The Robin Report

There’s an old adage: You get what you get, and you don’t get upset. Clearly, that doesn’t apply to retail. For some time now, the axiom has been customers want what they want, when they want it. And Covid-19 accelerated that. Apparel shoppers want choices, and they want the stores and clothes to reflect their local tastes and demands. And they still want what they want when, where and how they want it delivered. Post-Pandemic Paradigms Coresight Research says the pandemic “accelerated consumer disinterest in homogeneous physical retail experiences.” Instead, shoppers are seeking experiences that are local, distinctive and diverse. The firm advises retailers consider localizing in-store experiences and product offerings. Coresight adds that mall owners can support its tenants with localized center experiences. Capgemini’s Smart Retail Planner suggests stores use sales history, industry data, product attributes, and hierarchy structure, as well as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to “help drive the creation of localized assortments.” The pandemic accelerated consumer disinterest in homogeneous physical retail experiences. Instead, shoppers are seeking experiences that are local, distinctive and diverse. Retailers and mall owners can respond by delivering localized experiences and product offerings. Most consumers just want retailers to have what they want, as if by magic. Two-thirds of shoppers (66 percent) say they wish apparel brands and retailers knew more about what they like and how they shop, according to the 2020 Cotton Incorporated Lifestyle Monitor™Survey. Streaming Retail And apparently, that’s quite possible. In a recent webinar titled “Age of Precision Category Management,” Coresight’s Deborah Weinswig, founder and CEO, said stores may want to draw inspiration from the world’s largest streaming platform. “We had talked about this... read more

“Retailers are rethinking mask policies in the wake of new CDC guidance—and it could get complicated”

A “Mask Required” sign at the entrance to a Kroger Co. grocery store in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday, March 10, 2021.Scott Dalton | Bloomberg | Getty Images KEY POINTS Retailers are again contemplating whether or not to reinstate mask mandates in stores for shoppers and employees, following updated CDC guidelines.The National Retail Federation said it is “truly unfortunate” that these mask recommendations have returned for much of the country.Apple is asking both vaccinated and unvaccinated customers to wear masks in many of its U.S. stores.Other businesses are expected to follow suit with revised masking policies in the coming days. Retailers have waded back into all-too-familiar territory that they didn’t think they’d be faced with again, as many are contemplating whether or not to reinstate mask mandates in stores for shoppers and employees. On Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a fresh recommendation that calls for wearing face masks again in areas of the country where the Covid-19 virus is spreading the most rapidly. That covers about two-thirds of all counties in the United States. The decision came roughly two months after the CDC in May said vaccinated individuals could go without masks. The delta variant, however, has driven cases back up and led the agency to reevaluate. The National Retail Federation, a leading trade group for the industry, said in a statement that retailers large and small “will continue to follow the guidance of the CDC.” It added, however, “It is truly unfortunate that mask recommendations have returned when the surest known way to reduce the threat of the virus is widespread vaccination.” Some businesses have been quick to react.... read more

“Retailers Adapting Digital Marketing Strategies for Customer Acquisition, Retention” by Joe Keenan via Total Retail

More time spent at home thanks to remote work, cancelled events and activities, and other pandemic-related factors resulted in consumers bringing more attention to digital shopping. Creating a consistent experience across all channels is what will keep consumers’ attention and business, driving both customer acquisition and customer retention efforts. As a result of shifting consumer behaviors and the impact they have had on retailers’ marketing strategies, Total Retail, in conjunction with SMG, a leading experience management firm, recently produced a new report, The Changing Consumer: Adapting Digital Marketing Strategies to Acquire and Retain Today and Tomorrow’s Customer. The comprehensive report addresses how retailers must adapt their marketing tactics to acquire and retain digital-savvy, channel-agnostic shoppers. To start, brand style, content tone, and other elements of a retailer’s marketing strategy must be consistent across all digital channels. The consumer needs to recognize at first glance the brand they’re hearing from. Emails confirming orders, advertising a special promotion, announcing a new product launch, etc., need to share consistent brand styles and tones, creating a familiar feeling for the recipient. If a customer goes into a brick-and-mortar store, their experience and how it makes them feel is likely going to be the same regardless of what task they went in to accomplish. This can be achieved digitally as well. Social media, text messaging, affiliate marketing, etc., all need to be consistent to ensure customers are associating the messaging they receive with your brand. As mentioned previously, consumers are habitual. Therefore, if they’re familiar and comfortable with your brand, they will think of it when they need something and return to make repeat purchases. Related... read more

“WE SNUCK A WRITER INTO TO THE TOKYO OLYMPICS” by Ron Mexico via Jenkem Mag

Before the world went to shit, we had plans to be in Tokyo for the 2020 Olympics. Flights and Airbnbs were booked, and then, of course, lockdowns hit shortly after and there was no way we were going to get press access with how tight restrictions were across all of Japan. Luckily, we had an anonymous “Olympic insider” who reached out to us saying he would be flying to Tokyo with his country’s delegation and wanted to snap some photos for Jenkem while they were out there. At first, we thought it would just be from the stands due to strict security guidelines, but after a glitch in the system, they were granted full, on-course access. Here’s an inside look at what it felt like to be one of the lucky few to travel to Tokyo and witness the first-ever skateboarding Olympics. Getting off the plane you were met by dudes in lab coats that escorted you through mazes of clearance sites in a completely empty Tokyo airport. These dudes surrounded your every move. If you had to piss, they’d make you go to designated toilets for foreigners. It was wild how tight things were. The whole thing was like a horror movie. I have no idea how many tests and approval stations I had to go through. I had no idea what these snacks were while I waited at the airport so I was just trying them all out. Half of them were either gummies or chocolate. It was a guessing game at that point and I was drunk and had been up for 24 hours. The mandatory Tokyo... read more

“The MLB Player Who Skateboards” video via the Berrics

JON JAY: THE MLB CENTER FIELDER WHO SKATEBOARDS JON JAY: THE MLB CENTER FIELDER WHO SKATEBOARDS Major League Baseball center fielder Jon Jay is a skateboarder. Just let that sink in. Learn about how he started, and how skating fits in with his career, in today’s video. Things change. Boards change, shoes change, tricks change, skaters change. Change is the manifestation of time, and time has shown us that skateboarding is here for as long as we—as individuals and as a community—create it into existence. Although much of the world is trying to stunt skateboarding’s growth, there are enough rogue individuals out there continuing to make it happen. Whether it be by building ledges at a remote spot just east of downtown LA like Jason Hernandez, constructing mini-ramps in our backyards like Mikey Taylor, or buying buildings and constructing skateparks inside them like ourselves, we continue to grow because our will to skate and our will to survive is just that strong and because the only alternative is to quit and die. But we at the Berrics believe that life was made to live out of, not die out of. There’s nothing special about dying. Anyone can do that. Push the future. — Steve Berra & Eric Koston. If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“Report shows Outdoor Industry has work to do on its online ADA compliance” by OSI (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

Image of Jon Comer, pioneer of adaptive skateboarding (courtesy of ESPN) Outdoor Sports Insurance evaluated industry sites for compliance EDEN PRAIRIE, MINNESOTA (Last Monday marked the 31st anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Outdoor Sports Insurance (outdoorsportsins.com), the longest serving business insurance broker in Ski, Bike, Board and Outdoor markets, recently completed a report evaluating over 275 outdoor industry retailer and brand websites for ADA compliance. “We often only think about the ADA in our physical spaces, but with so much of our lives now beingconducted online it is important that we ensure that all have equal access to our digital presence,” saidRob Martin, Outdoor Sports Insurance managing director. Using the Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool (WAVE), Outdoor Sports Insurance evaluated thehomepages of 141 outdoor retailers and 147 outdoor brands and manufactures for errors and contrasterrors. Errors include empty links, missing alternative text, and missing labels, among others. Contrasterrors are present when the color of text and the color of the background are low-contrast.The 147 brand websites evaluated included a broad spectrum of the industry in terms of size, reach, andcategory including apparel, footwear, paddle sports, hardgoods, camping, hiking, nutrition, and more. Theevaluated sites on average had 18 errors and 17 contrast errors. About 54% of the sites had 10 or lesserrors and 58% had 10 or less contrast errors. 12 brands received perfect scores with 0 errors andcontrast errors. Of the 141 retailer sites evaluated, on average the sites had 13 errors and 19 contrast errors. About 57% of the sites had 10 or less errors and 47% had 10 or less contrast errors.... read more

“Opinion: Surfing’s Olympic Debut Deserved World-Class Surf” by Alexander Haro via The Inertia

Medina making the most out of sub-par conditions. Photo: Pablo Jimenez/ISA Well, surfing’s Olympic debut is in the books. It’s done and dusted. Duke Kahanamoku’s dream came to fruition. The best surfers in the world competed for Olympic medals in front of a relatively diminished audience, and our very own Joe Carberry was on the ground reporting. The surfing world was joined by the non-surfing world to watch the biggest competition on the planet. And I for one am disappointed. Not because the surfers didn’t surf well. Not because the judging was bad. Not because I don’t think surfing should be in the Olympics. Not because I don’t think competitive surfers don’t warrant an Olympic medal. No, none of that. I’m disappointed because, in surfing’s debut on sporting’s greatest stage, the waves were, for the most part – with the notable exception of the final day – pretty average. I wanted surfing’s great reveal to the world to be staggeringly good. I wanted huge, throaty tubes, blown eardrums, and knee-buckling aerials. I wanted a showcase of what surfing can be, not a showcase of what surfing looks like when you drive by a beach on an average day. Ever since the initial announcement of the contest site, the wave quality was a concern. And when the contest kicked off, it appeared the naysayers were right. Imagine, just for a second, that skateboarding’s Olympic reveal was held in a parking lot with a few curbs, a rattle-trap plywood ramp, and a rail made from a chunk of broken staircase railing. Certainly, the best skateboarders on Earth could do things there that the average skateboarder couldn’t,... read more

“What the delta variant already means for retail” by Daphne Howland via Retail Dive

Rapid development and distribution of vaccines promised to halt the pandemic, but new surges brought on by viral mutations threaten progress. A change in mask-wearing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tuesday — urging even vaccinated people to wear masks indoors in areas with “substantial or high transmission” — signaled fresh worry about a pandemic that earlier this year seemed to be on the wane in the U.S., thanks to the rapid development and distribution of vaccines. A stock market dip the week before was also attributed to rising concerns about a mutation of the COVID-19 coronavirus known as the delta variant, which is proving to be even more contagious than the strains that took such a toll last year. Hospitals in some areas are once again under pressure. For developing and poor countries, which have the lowest vaccination rate, the problem is access to vaccines, according to the International Monetary Fund, which on Tuesday warned the delta variant threatens the global economy. In the U.S., nearly all patients with serious illness have been unvaccinated, in part due to vaccine hesitancy. The National Retail Federation took on that issue in its response to the new guidance. “It is truly unfortunate that mask recommendations have returned when the surest known way to reduce the threat of the virus is widespread vaccination,” the group said in a statement Tuesday. “The CDC’s latest guidance underscores the urgency for more Americans to become fully vaccinated so we can all emerge from this pandemic.” While the news is alarming, a repeat of the lockdowns of last year that hit the retail industry so hard seems unlikely. Still, the delta variant is already affecting retailers in three... read more

“American Carissa Moore is the FIRST Olympic women’s surfing champ plus Brazil’s Italo Ferreira wins first surfing gold medal in Olympic history in Tokyo | Tokyo Olympics” via NBC Sports

American Carissa Moore is the FIRST Olympic women’s surfing champ | Tokyo Olympics | NBC Sports Four-time World Surf League champion Carissa Moore defeated South Africa’s Bianca Buitendag to take home the first women’s Olympic surfing title. #NBCOlympics#Tokyo2020#Surfing Brazil’s Italo Ferreira defeated Kanao Igarashi 15.14 to 6.60 in the men’s surfboarding final to claim the event’s first ever gold medal. #NBCOlympics #Tokyo2020 #Surfing Subscribe to NBC Sports: https://www.youtube.com/nbcsports » Watch live Olympic coverage on NBCOlympics.com: https://www.nbcolympics.com/schedule NBC Olympics is responsible for producing, programming and promoting NBCUniversal’s coverage of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. NBC Olympics is renowned for its unsurpassed Olympic heritage, award-winning production, and ability to aggregate the largest audiences in U.S. television history. NBCUniversal owns the U.S. media rights on all platforms to all Olympic Games through 2032. NBC Olympics also produces thousands of hours of Olympic sports programming throughout the year, which is presented on NBC, NBCSN, Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA, Peacock and NBC Sports digital platforms. If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“SKATEBOARDING IS A SPORT, SO NOW WHAT? – I Watched the Olympics and It Wasn’t What I Expected.” by Anthony Pappalardo via Artless Industrial

After being announced in 2016 and delayed a year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, skateboarding made its official Olympic debut on Saturday, July 24, 2021. During the ramp-up, my skate-centric social media channels fell into three buckets: 1. Supportive 2. Dismissive 3. Ironically excited. I mostly landed in the third lane because I seldom enjoy modern skate competitions but was curious and also happy for all those involved, especially the athletes. It seemed like the opinion that skateboarding was not a sport and this inclusion was a bad thing was the minority take, mostly because it’s a jaded way to view things and we all need to be celebratory on social media… right? Also, skateboarding is a sport and a physical art at the same time and it’s malleable—you can skate in a contest but also film a VX part and be revered by the “core” community.  If you’re an older person, you’ve seen different waves in skateboarding’s mainstream popularity so the Olympics? Is it really going to change that much and does it really matter?  Think about the notable “big money eras,” such as the X-Games Tony Hawk 900 boom and later, the Tony Hawk Pro Skater video game boom. Both changed skateboarding by making it more monetarily viable while normalizing it to normies. Woodward Skate Camp enrollment grew due to the interest, there was more mainstream coverage and one could argue that board graphics and branding became safer and more homogenized once big-box stores started carrying “real” brands.  We’ve been here before and that’s why most skaters don’t really care about what the Olympics will do... read more

“How To Get Employee Sales Training To Stick” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

Customers go online to buy – frequently replacement purchases – but go to stores to discover. That moment of discovery needs to be crafted, trained, and rewarded because customers respond to a human trusted advisor more deeply than to any webpage. These days the decision between a shopper choosing to visit your store over an online competitor lies in your employees’ ability to know exactly what to say, when to say it, and how to make it count. I call it a branded shopping experience. With fewer employees on your sales floor and shoppers returning to physical stores, you can’t let your retail staff wing it over and over again and expect to survive. While the history of retail was built on product knowledge, today that former ace in the hole is available online. You know yourself, you start the search for something worth more than a few bucks on the web to learn as much as you can, uncover reviews, and compare offers. The ace in the hole for physical stores now must be how to engage strangers. And if those employees can’t talk to strangers, how will they ever use any of their product knowledge to sell your goods? They won’t. And the merchandise will sit until it is marked down. Discover how to create a winning retail sales strategy here So if your training is not focused on people knowledge first but is solely focused on product knowledge, you’re missing the boat. The skills of engaging a stranger is not intuitive nor is it easy. 80% of shoppers entering your store have already researched the features of your products online. And the other 20% will do it on... read more

“Teenagers Win All 3 Medals In Women’s Street Skateboarding Event” by Leila Fadel via NPR

Momiji Nishiya of Team Japan celebrates during the Women’s Street Final on day three of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Monday at Ariake Urban Sports Park. Patrick Smith/Getty Images TOKYO — Thirteen-year-old Momiji Nishiya dazzled during the Olympic women’s skateboarding street competition. She skated through a park of rails, ramps and stairs meant to mimic city street parks at the Ariake Urban Sports Park. When she finished, she became Japan’s youngest-ever gold medal winner and one of the youngest Olympic champions of all time. Nishiya shared the podium with two other teenagers. It “could very well be the youngest Olympic podium ever,” the official Olympics news outlet says. Nishiya’s win also sealed Japan’s domination of the street competition. It debuted at these Summer Olympics and organizers hope it infuses the global sports event with youthful energy. In fact, half of the women in the eight-skateboarder final were 16 or younger. Brazil’s Rayssa Leal, a few months younger than Nishiya, took silver. Another Japanese skateboarder Funa Nakayama, 16, won bronze. Nishiya’s victory came the day after Japan’s Yuto Horigome, 22, took the gold in the men’s street competition. The sport is one of several new games at the Olympics this year including surfing, three on three basketball and rock climbing. NPR is an independent, nonprofit media organization that was founded on a mission to create a more informed public. Every day, NPR connects with millions of Americans on the air, online, and in person to explore the news, ideas, and what it means to be human. Through its network of member stations, NPR makes local stories national, national stories local, and global... read more

“A Son of Tokyo Wins Skateboarding’s First Gold” by John Branch via The New York Times plus highlight video of the finals courtesy of NBC Sports

Yuto Horigome of Japan landed three tricks in a row to claim his gold medal. Credit…Alexandra Garcia/The New York Times Yuto Horigome won gold in the men’s street competition only eight miles from where he grew up, and after Nyjah Huston fell four times in a row. TOKYO — With its street-riding roots, youthful vibe and full immersion into culture of all kinds, skateboarding was invited to the Olympics because its global reach could no longer be denied. But it only had to look across town for its first Olympic champion. Yuto Horigome, the 22-year-old son of a Tokyo taxi driver, had the gold medal for men’s street skateboarding draped around his neck on Sunday in an empty, sun-drenched skatepark about eight miles from where he grew up. Skateboarding: Men’s Street FinalRESULTGOLDYuto Horigome – Japan 37.18 ptsSILVERKelvin Hoefler – Brazil36.15 ptsBRONZEJagger Eaton – United States35.35 pts4Vincent Milou – France34.14 pts5Angelo Caro Narvaez – Peru32.87 pts6Aurelien  Giraud – France29.09 pts7Nyjah Huston – United States26.1 pts8Gustavo Ribeiro – Portugal15.05 pts With the venue’s grandstands left empty because of pandemic protocols, the biggest ovation he received was from the army of volunteers working at Ariake Urban Sports Park, who trailed him with enthusiastic applause. But the victory was sure to resonate. A few miles away, Horigome’s father, Ryota, the one who first taught Yuto how to ride, was too nervous to watch, even on television. He left the family’s third-floor apartment in an unassuming eastside neighborhood and went for a bicycle ride. Eventually, calls and messages poured into his phone. He knew what it meant. Yuto had won. And Japan, where skateboarding in... read more

“Kellen James and Jamie Palmore (KJP) | Hickman” via Transworld Skateboarding

Kellen James (owner of Arts and Rec Skate Shop) and Jamie Palmore come together for the first (and hopefully not the only) installment of the KJP (KJ + JP = KJP) series. First spot: Hickman. Guest appearances by:Jimmy Cao, Kyong Kim, Joe Blas, Marshall Heath, Chris LaRue, Adam Sullivan, and Mike Fitzgerald. Film and edit: Matthew Reyes Transworld Skateboarding is an excellent source of skateboarding news and related content. Be sure to bookmark: https://skateboarding.transworld.net/ If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“NRF: Back-to-School Shopping to Reach Record Levels in 2021” by Melissa Campanelli via Total Retail

Credit: Getty Images by Max Riesgo Consumers plan to spend record amounts for both school and college supplies as families and students plan to return to in-person classrooms this fall, according to the annual survey released today by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics. Families with children in elementary through high school plan to spend an average of $848.90 on school items, which is $59 more than last year, according to the NRF. Total back-to-school spending is expected to reach a record $37.1 billion, up from $33.9 billion last year and an all-time high in the survey’s history. College students and their families plan to spend an average of $1,200.32, an increase of $141 over last year. Over half ($80) of this increase is due to increased spending on electronics and dorm furnishings. Total back-to-college spending is expected to reach a record $71 billion, up from $67.7 billion in 2020. About 43 percent of all shoppers said they will use government stimulus money to purchase items for school. According to the survey, as of early July more than half (51 percent) of K-12 and college shoppers have begun shopping for the items they will need when classes resume later this year. However, the vast majority (76 percent) of K-12 shoppers were still waiting on lists for school supplies as of earlier this month. Total Retail’s Take: In other good news, the NRF said last week that retail sales saw solid growth during June, increasing in most categories on a monthly basis and across the board on a yearly basis as the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic continued.... read more

“10 Customer Service Techniques to Help You Grow Sales” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

Customer service techniques should be at the top of your list when you consider how to increase sales in retail. While getting customers into your store comes first, their experience in the store is what makes the sale. Attracting visitors to your store through occasional promotions, events, and a killer website is a great start. But you need to convert those visitors into customers. That’s why focusing on improving customer service techniques in your retail staff can have an outsized influence on your revenue. There are a lot of in-store factors influencing a purchase decision. Things like well-appointed and serviced fitting rooms, sufficient mirrors, and visual merchandising can help create a shopping experience that makes customers want to buy your products at your regular prices. But the missing ingredient when it comes to the best retail customer service tips that influence sales has nothing to do with physical elements. It’s your people and their ability to make a connection with customers. Customer service is about communication and connection Connection is the most important factor in sales. It is the springboard for dialogue between shopper and salesperson. The rapport that follows is the stickiness that creates loyal customers. Look up the definition of rapport sometimes. Never mind, here it is: Rapport“A relationship characterized by agreement, mutual understanding, or empathy that makes communication possible or easy.” How often do you believe your customers leave your store feeling this way about their experience? How often do your customers feel like they had any relationship with the person who rang up their purchase? I’m guessing if you’re like most retailers, not often. The lost art of conversation Too many younger... read more

“Facebook rides into Tokyo Games with new skateboarding campaign” by Kendra Clark via The Drum

Just four days before the official kick-off of the Tokyo Summer Olympics, Facebook has launched a new global ad campaign that showcases stories of how Facebook communities and technologies have helped bring together passionate skateboarders and skateboarding fans from across the globe — and advanced the sport itself. Facebook has today unveiled a new multichannel global ad campaign that aims to help people “change the game” with its platform and technologies. To run during NBC’s coverage of the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, the spot celebrates Facebook’s vibrant skateboarding communities. This is the first year that skateboarding will be included in the Olympic Games. Brought to life by agency Droga5, the multi-app campaign includes creative for Facebook, Instagram, Facebook Blue App and Oculus. There are a total of four films, including one directed by pop-R&B icon FKA Twigs. “Facebook is proud to celebrate skateboarding and its athletes around the world, as the sport takes the global stage in Tokyo for the first time,” said Andrew Stirk, Facebook’s vice president of global company marketing, in a statement today. “Skateboarding is a grassroots sport and culture, centered around connection and community. This work celebrates the authentic stories of skaters using our platforms to find each other, broaden the culture, and push the sport forward.” Skateboarders and skateboarding fans have a notable presence across Facebook platforms. More than 34 million users follow skateboarding creators on Instagram, while Facebook is home to skateboarding groups and communities with over 5.7 million users. Ahead of the summer Olympics — which represents a major milestone for the sport — Facebook recognizes an opportunity to engage these... read more

“Gui Khury outshines Tony Hawk, lands 1080 to win X Games gold” via ESPN and USA Today

Push play to view the 1080 degree spinning that earned 12 year old Gui Khury X-Games Gold ESPN Article: Twenty-two years after Tony Hawk became the first skateboarder to land a 900 on a vert ramp at the X Games, Gui Khury made history of his own Friday night on Day 3 of the X Games in Vista, California. Khury, 12, became the first to land a 1080 on a vert ramp, winning the gold medal in the Vert Best Trick contest by besting eight others, including Hawk, who was a surprise entry at age 53. Khury became the youngest gold medalist in X Games history. Hawk, a 10-time gold medalist who hadn’t competed in the X Games since 2003, decided less than an hour before the competition that he would enter. The 18-year gap between X Games appearances is the largest in history. A victory in the Vert Best Trick, which is a gold-only event, would have made Hawk the oldest gold medalist in X Games history. USA Today Article: Gui Khury lands 1080 to win X Games gold medal Christian Ortega Competing against his childhood idol, Tony Hawk, Gui Khury dared himself to do something nobody had done before Friday night on Day 3 of the X Games in Vista, California. The 12-year-old dropped down the vert ramp, gained some air and then let physics take over as he rotated 1080 degrees and became the first skater to land the trick on a non-mega ramp. Hawk embraced Khury who was wiping tears from his face.  Khury became the youngest gold medalist in X Games history. He beat eight other... read more

“Why Contactless Payments Are the Future of Brick-and-Mortar Retail” by Bobby Marhamat via Total Retail

Credit: Getty Images by dowell The future always promises uncertainty. That said, all indications are that contactless payments are ingrained in brick-and-mortar retail for the long haul. Without massive unforeseen disruption, the COVID-assisted trend towards cashless, fully contactless checkout will gain further momentum. The 1,000 customers we surveyed in our State of Contactless Payments 2021 Report only confirmed our belief in contactless payments as an essential feature of retail businesses. Eighty-three percent of those customers have used contactless payments in the past 12 months. Furthermore, 57 percent will choose a business with contactless payment channels over a competitor without contactless payment options. We know that health is one driver of contactless payments. Mastercard, which has a crystal-clear view of consumer payment habits, saw a 40 percent increase in shoppers’ contactless payments amid the pandemic. We also know convenience is swaying customers to embrace contactless. Our data suggests that consumers have no plans of ditching contactless payment methods, even post-pandemic. Pandemic or no pandemic, shoppers like the convenience that tap-and-go, mobile wallets, apps, and other contactless channels provide. We firmly believe that contactless payments are the future of buying. We have the numbers to back it up. Related story: The Store of the Future: How to Evaluate the Value of Autonomous Technologies Customers Are Using Contactless Payments, and Nobody’s Forcing Them to The 83 percent of customers who used contactless payment channels in the past year did so under their own volition. Nobody forced them, and yet they chose to go contactless. Critics might say, “big deal, they tried contactless once. People will try anything once.” It’s a fair point. However, as we dug deeper into the data, we... read more

“#PassTheHandle is this Sunday, July 18th!” via WSIA Newsletter

The purpose of #PassTheHandle is to introduce new people to towed water sports. Participants leave feeling energized and eager to get back out on the water.The #PassTheHandle project is a national awareness-driven initiative created by legendary wakeboarders Shaun Murray and Zane Schwenk. The concept is simple: Find a friend who has never tried towed water sports (or perhaps has been focused on only one discipline) and teach them something new. Take a wakeboarder out for a trick ski session. Have a wakesurfer try out a disc. Help us spread the word on social media with these graphics: Ideas for how you can share the stoke… Community members, friends, friends-of-friends, neighbors, work friends, classmates and family could all be great participants for #PassTheHandle. Consider people in your local community, like the local Sheriff, law enforcement or fire fighters; people who work at your favorite coffee shop or store. Get Support Get a friend or talk to your local boat dealership to see if they will help in the boat—Either driving the boat while you coach, or vice versa. Life Jackets Adequate floatation and proper equipment is a must—The participant should be in a coast guard approved life jacket. Show the World Take lots of photos and videos, and post them with the hashtag #PassTheHandle and tag @wsiahq Coaching Tips: To not confuse participants, only one person should be coaching. The boat driver should follow the coach’s lead. Know your participant—Not every participant is going to feel comfortable on any apparatus. Let them get comfortable, start slow—give them an opportunity to get used to being behind the boat. Be patient. It’s important to... read more

“Outdoor Sports Insurance Highlights the Necessity for Board Retailers to Consider Network Security” via OSI (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

For years, Network Security Insurance (commonly referred to as Cyber Liability Coverage) waswidely regarded as a boutique coverage needed only by large corporations who store andprocess large volumes of consumer credit card information. In the later part of the last decade,however, this perception proved inaccurate when cyber-attacks on small to midsize businessesand retailers increased nearly 600%. Cyber extortion targeting small businesses now reignssupreme. The good news is, Outdoor Sports Insurance has access to a wide array of insurance marketsthat write cyber policies specifically for the small business owner. These policies are bothcomprehensive in protection and breach response services, and affordable in premium.Wrapped together with policies that cover the risks associated with snowboarding, surfing,skateboarding or any board sport, Outdoor Sports Insurance knows the market and has theproducts to fit any Board Retailer. By definition, a “cyber attack”, or “security breach”, refers to unauthorized access to the ITinfrastructure of a company by a third party (hacker) with the intent to corrupt, steal, or destroydata. The types of attacks hackers employ to achieve these ends runs a wide spectrum; Denialof Service (DoS), Phishing attacks, Password attacks and cross-site scripting attacks are just afew of the more common means by which hackers wreak havoc on a company’s network (andsubsequently the daily operation of the business itself). The most common attack, and by far the most damaging in terms of financial impact to victims,is the ransomware attack, commonly referred to as, “cyber extortion.” When a company hasbeen hit with a ransomware attack, malicious software infiltrates a portion, or all, of thecompany’s IT mainframe. As malware increases in sophistication and complexity, so, too, do theextortion... read more

“Vans Skateboarding Welcomes Zion Wright” via Press Release on Shop Eat Surf

Zion Wright earned himself a ticket to Tokyo. Courtesy of Vans Click on the following link to view the newsworthy press release from Vans via Shop Eat Surf: Vans Skateboarding Welcomes Zion Wright Be sure to visit the Shop Eat Surf website to view valuable Industry News and Resourceful Articles regularly via this link: Shop Eat Surf If you are not already a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“Child tax credits an ‘underappreciated’ stimulus that could boost retail: Cowen” by Ben Unglesbee via Retail Dive

Dive Brief: This month, some 39 million households will begin receiving tax credit payments for each child under 18, a new relief program Cowen analysts called an “underappreciated catalyst for consumer spend” in a report this week.  The program, part of President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats’ American Rescue Plan passed earlier this year, comes as the back-to-school shopping season ramps up and could benefit numerous retailers.Aimed at reducing child poverty, the checks could boost spending at food retailers, including Walmart and Target, according to Cowen. Also in line to benefit are Amazon and other e-commerce players, off-price retailers, and apparel and footwear sellers, analysts said. Dive Insight: The nearly $2 trillion American Rescue Plan has already helped prop up retail sales with checks that went out to more than 160 million Americans earlier this year. Together with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the stimulus helped retailers across numerous sectors recover from the crisis year of 2020 when stores closed, the economy stumbled and customers avoided physical stores. The $150 billion child tax credit program that begins in July will add more cash to consumers’ pocketbooks. The payments total out to $3,600 per child under six per year, and $3,000 per child over age six for couples making up to $150,000 and single parents making up to $112,500. That sum is dispersed in monthly payments throughout the year. Chris Krueger of Cowen’s Washington Research Group called it a “huge policy change” that is “universal basic income for low-middle income parents.” The checks start rolling out as the back-to-school season ramps up. That could lift sales at softlines retailers, among others. Cowen analyst John Kernan said in the report that if... read more

“8 tips and tricks to improve your retail store marketing – If you’re struggling for ideas to improve your retail store marketing, we’ve got you covered. Here are some strategies that help you generate more leads.” via Podium (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

The world we live in is consumer driven and constantly changing. Enticing customers to your retail store with traditional marketing methods (or even online) is growing harder every year. Not only do 51% of Americans prefer to shop online, COVID-19 has moved many shoppers out of in-person store experiences and into their mobile devices for their retail needs.  If you’re struggling for ideas to improve your retail store marketing, we’ve got you covered. Check out these tips and tricks to attract more customers and improve your sales:  1. Use content marketing. Content marketing is the organic (rather than paid or promoted) use of social media to reach customers through the content you produce. 75% of consumers will increase their spending with a brand they follow on social media. Content marketing costs 62% less and generates 3x as many leads as traditional marketing.   Ideas for content should stem from problems or challenges your customers face and offer solutions they can implement fairly easily. A recipe blog or how-to videos or other content are great ways to connect with potential prospects and offer value at the same time. Great content marketing positions your brand (and your local store) as an expert in your industry and area.   2. Add product videos to your website. Video content tends to be more memorable, engaging, and shareable than other types of content. Nearly two-thirds of customers prefer watching a short video to learn about a product or service. 84% of consumers say they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video.  In addition to conveying helpful information, videos increase the time customers spend on your website and directly impact sales and positive... read more

“Retailers, Take These 9 Actions In Summer For Successful Winter Holiday Sales” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

Christmas in July…or August. We’ve all heard the phrase but planning for successful holidays is more important. It’s summer and a lot of retailers need to be thinking about what they will do differently for the upcoming holidays. The good news is Covid is on the wane in the U.S. But with labor shortages and supply chain issues still impacting us for the foreseeable future, you can’t just hope you’ll have a better holiday season.  Even though the NRF is expecting a 10-13% jump in sales for 2021, the media will still be broadcasting how expectations are soft for retail sales this shopping season. To get your piece of the retail renaissance, take action now. Here are my top nine actions you need to take to have a successful holiday season. Clean out your stockroom.  A few years ago the FDA admitted that they found smallpox vials from the fifties in a walk-in cooler no one had regularly looked at. Old merchandise in your back room is just as deadly. Take a helper and remove every box, open it, sort it and throw out the junk. Put anything possibly salvageable on sale prior to Labor Day. Clean out your store. I’m talking about down to the fixtures here. Remove every box, bag, or tag. Sweep or mop every floor surface. Get your carpets cleaned. The whole goal is to look as new as possible. Repair, repaint and relight. Once everything is clean, notice the chipped paint, the broken furniture, the yellowed signage and fix them. Have someone take a razor blade to your glass surfaces and get rid of all those tape residues from mask and... read more

“Is Retail a Career?” by Arick Wierson via The Robin Report

As a four trillion dollar slice of the economy, retail is one of the largest employment sectors in the U.S. Prior to the pandemic, it provided direct and indirect employment to some 52 million workers, second only to the healthcare sector. Many of these jobs – as many as 30 percent of them – are comprised of the workers who staff brick-and-mortar store locations yet filling these frontline positions has become increasingly challenging in the post-pandemic era. Recruitment on the Rocks The Society for Human Resource Management, better known by its clunky consonant-laden acronym, SHRM (pronounced SHERM), was among the first to recognize that recruiting – particularly in high-touch sectors like retail – was going to be turned on its heads as America emerged from the throes of the pandemic. Much has been written about how the U.S. work landscape – Zoom calls and untethered workers – has been permanently upended by Covid-19, but for the frontline retail jobs that still require on-site human beings, not much has changed so far, and retailers are now finding it very difficult to make the hires needed to fuel their much-anticipated post-pandemic rebound. Why exactly this is the case is still an open debate and there is still much that remains unknown. Forget ‘help wanted;’ retail recruiting in a post-pandemic world should focus on career building. Economic Factors Many conservative policy makers in Washington and state capitols around the country have tended to blame government stimulus checks for nagging recruiting shortages even though such claims have been roundly debunked in study after study. BestBuy CEO Corrie Barry has offered that a lack of adequate childcare options and other issues stemming... read more

“Back-to-school shopping to rise 9% in 2021: KPMG” by Tatiana Walk-Morris via Retail Dive

Dive Brief: Back-to-school is just around the corner, and a recent KPMG survey of 1,000 consumers found that shoppers plan to spend $268 per child this year, an uptick from $247 per student in 2020. That’s an estimated increase of 9% for back-to-school spend this year.Spending for preschool (up 32%) and college students (up 13%) is expected to increase more than their middle school (up 3%) and high school (up 4%) counterparts, according to the report.Among the retail categories that shoppers are expected to spend on are footwear (21%), school supplies (16%) and apparel (14%). Consumers reported a lower likelihood of buying computers and study-related furniture, according to the report. Dive Insight: With summer in full swing, attention is shifting to the upcoming back-to-school season. The expected uptick in school supply spending is driven by the larger than average group of pre-schoolers and college students, the report noted.   Though shopping online for school-related items became more prevalent last year, more consumers are expected to shop in-store than online in 2021. Per KPMG’s findings, in-store school supply shopping has significantly decreased from pre-COVID levels, at an anticipated 57% (down from 66%), while online shopping is predicted to rise to 44% from 34% pre-pandemic. Higher-income parents appear to drive online spending, KPMG noted in its report. Parents earning more than $50,000 are more likely to shop online, but those with less income are more likely to shop in-store.  The predicted increase in back-to-school spending follows a relatively flat 2020. Per a Deloitte report, last year’s back-to-school shopping remained at $529 on average per household, but more than a third of shoppers’ budgets were devoted to online shopping. Store re-openings... read more

“Trek and Locally Hit the Road Together” by Mike Massey via Locally.com

Consumer Behavior is Changing One of the most inescapable business themes of the past decade is the evolution of consumer shopping behavior. Nearly every business news story about consumers involves the application of new technology to everyday life. Whether it is something as simple as reserving a table for dinner or as complex as renting a vacation home in a foreign currency on the other side of the world, internet-based technologies have raised the bar for what’s expected in day-to-day commerce. Locally was founded by a group of retailers in 2013 to address the gap between what evolving consumers expect and what’s needed for local retailers and their suppliers to thrive. Identifying the Problem for Retailers When we read stories about how these changes have affected various industries, physical retail is often held up as an example of an industry that has failed to stay current with technology-based solutions. Stores have limited hours, significant physical location costs, a smaller assortments of merchandise, and usually require shoppers to get in a car and come to them. It’s easy to see why pundits would expect physical retail to be toppled by a more modernized shopping paradigm. Still, these issues are not insurmountable, and physical retail continues to play a major role in shopper behavior (arguably the largest). Stores like Apple and Lululemon that have combined digital and physical retail have absolutely thrived in recent years. It seems that having physical locations near customers is less of a problem than creating digital connections to shoppers. Locally has served as a natural extension of our business – and aligns perfectly with our goal... read more

“Digging Deeper Into Skate and Surf Participation Growth” by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf (Executive Edition)

Please click on the following link to view this Shop Eat Surf News Article:  Digging Deeper Into Skate and Surf Participation Growth Please note that this article is a Shop Eat Surf Executive Edition article so you will need to sign up and pay for access before viewing. We, at BRA,  feel that the benefits of the SES Executive Edition Membership outweigh the cost. Be sure to visit the Shop Eat Surf website to view valuable Industry News and Resourceful Articles regularly via this link: Shop Eat Surf If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“Skateboarding as an Olympic sport has even some on Team USA feeling conflicted” by Phil McCausland via NBC News

Members of the first U.S. Olympic skateboarding team arrive on their boards for a news conference in downtown Los Angeles on June 21, 2021.Richard Vogel / AP “I think as a community, people were attracted to skateboarding because it was not part of something like the Olympics; it was not mainstream,” one expert said. For decades skateboarders have tossed on a beat up pair of sneakers and hunted for their town’s best skate spots. This month, however, eighty of the world’s best skaters will don sleek Olympic uniforms and look for judges’ point totals as skateboarding makes its debut as an Olympic sport in Tokyo. Some in the skateboarding community — including members of the U.S. national team — have mixed feelings about skating’s ongoing “sportification,” however, and have shared fears of further oversight and rigidity in a culture that values independence and self expression. USA’s first Olympic skateboarders: ‘It’s going to open doors’ AUG. 14, 201902:52 That dissonance echoes throughout skateboarding. Since becoming popular in Southern California in the 1960s, skateboarders have shaped film, fashion, music, video games, art, photography and writing. Tens of millions of skaters worldwide now make up a diverse and sought-after community — and a multibillion-dollar industry — while still remaining a counterculture powerhouse known for its rebellious inclinations. “I think as a community, people were attracted to skateboarding because it was not part of something like the Olympics; it was not mainstream,” said Ian Michna, the editor of Jenkem Magazine, a skateboarding and culture magazine. “It was more of an artistic activity you could do on your own independently and shape your own way, be your own... read more

“What If We Told You That You Could Protect Your New Surfboard Against Breaks And Dings…” via STAB Magazine

Well, you can. And it starts at just $10 a month.  Posted by: STAB What’s worse: breaking your new board first session, or watching every person you love getting mauled by a voracious pack of lions? Answer: the lions, but only just. New Board Anxiety is a serious medical condition that affects millions of surfers worldwide. If you or any surfer you know has suffered from this debilitating ailment, we present you with a viable (if only marginally costly) solution: Surfcare.  First and foremost, and despite how that intro read, this is not an advertisement. Or, I guess technically it is, but the crew at Surfcare didn’t pay a penny for it, so good on them for creating a product so inherently fascinating that we couldn’t help but write about it.  Second, Surfcare is exactly what it sounds like: AppleCare for your surfboard. It’s actual, genuine, real-life protection that you can buy as financial protection against a dinged or broken board.  Here are their available plans: Below we chatted with Nick Stolz, founder of Surfcare, to get more info on his product and see if the juice is truly worth the squeeze.  What inspired you to start this company? Well, I grew up breaking a ton of boards! Maybe I took that “stomp it” saying a little too literally [laughs]. I came up with the idea in Indonesia three years ago after running through a quiver at HTs. It’s a bad feeling when you spend a bunch of money on a new board and break it first session, or even at all. We all know the feeling. So Surfcare was... read more

“HOW ROOKIE SKATEBOARDS SHAPED WOMEN’S SKATEBOARDING” by JESSIE VAN ROECHOUDT & QUELL SKATEBOARDING via Jenkem Mag

Rookie Skateboards, a downtown Manhattan brand founded by Catharine Lyons and Elska von Hatzfeldt in the mid ’90s, has pioneered so much we see out of skating and streetwear today.While it’s not common to this day, it was even more of an anomaly to have a woman-founded skate company at the time when Rookie started. In that era, there were some supporters in the industry who were more open-minded.Like many trailblazing brands and people, Rookie didn’t think twice about supporting women and including them in the skateboarding scene. This piece was written by Jessie Van Roechoudt, a former Rookie team rider, to give us a look into the history and lasting impact of the company. This article was featured in Quell Skateboarding’s latest print issue, “The New York Issue,” and shared with us by out friends over at Quell HQ. Grab a copy of “The New York Issue” here. ROOKIE’S ORIGINS Catharine and Elska founded Rookie in 1996, and today people say Rookie Skateboards was ahead of its time – though it’s more appropriate to say that Rookie’s inclusive team roster, brand identity, and art direction were on point, and the rest of the skate industry just took 25 years to catch up. The catalyst for founding Rookie came about at an art show that was held at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge in the fall of 1995. The show featured a ramp, and the artist invited skaters to skate it as a sculpture in motion. The show was busy and chaotic – and pretty much impossible to even get near the ramp. Catharine and Elska asked the artist if they could come back... read more

“The Realities of Core Retail at a Time of Huge Demand” by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf

Tim Kirkpatrick, the owner of Wavelines Surf Snow Skate in San Diego – Photo by SES Click on the following link to view this interesting Shop Eat Surf Article: The Realities of Core Retail at a Time of Huge Demand Be sure to visit the Shop Eat Surf website to view valuable Industry News and Resourceful Articles regularly via this link: Shop Eat Surf If you are not already a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more