“December retail sales were strong, no matter what the clickbait headlines said” by Steve Dennis via Retail Wire

“December retail sales were strong, no matter what the clickbait headlines said” by Steve Dennis via Retail Wire

Photo: RetailWire Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion, is a summary of  Steve Dennis’ recent Forbes article. Steve is President & Founder of SageBerry Consulting and a senior Forbes Contributor. He is the author of Remarkable Retail: How to Win and Keep Customers in the Age of Disruption. The U.S. Commerce Department released its monthly retail sales report Friday morning and, within minutes, my social media feed lit up with gloom and doom takes on the alleged sorry state of shopping. Various outlets ran negative headlines suggesting sales in December had dropped precipitously. Much of the reporting focused on results coming in “below expectations.” There is so much wrong in all of this. As a senior executive at two Fortune 500 retailers and a consultant/analyst for 30 years, I’m hard pressed to name one person whom I respect who pays much attention to month-over-month numbers. What we focus on is the year-over-year numbers (and more recently, because of COVID, the so-called two-year stack). Depending on which definition of retail you prefer (some exclude auto, gasoline and/or restaurant revenues), sales were up between 14 and 19 percent year-over-year — much higher than average and a record for the month. Then there is this whole expectation thing. I, for one, fully expected December to be lower than November — and so did most other folks in retail I talk to. Why? It’s been obvious supply chain concerns and earlier retailer promotions pulled a lot of holiday sales into October and November. Oh, there’s also a little thing called the Omicron surge. To be sure, there are reasons for concern. Inflation, supply chain issues, labor shortages, likely higher...
“A Brief History of Snowboarding – Rebellious youth. Olympic glory. How a goofy American pastime conquered winter” by Max Ufberg via Smithsonian Magazine

“A Brief History of Snowboarding – Rebellious youth. Olympic glory. How a goofy American pastime conquered winter” by Max Ufberg via Smithsonian Magazine

Snowboarder Shannon Dunn competes for Team USA in the 1998 Winter Olympics, where she won the bronze medal in half-pipe. Alexander Hassenstein / Bongarts via Getty Images Long before the term “snowboarding” existed—and at least 80 years before it was an Olympic phenomenon—people were zipping like surfers down snow-covered hills. The first known instance came in 1917, when 13-year-old Vern Wicklund stood on a modified sled that he rode down his parents’ backyard in Cloquet, Minnesota. Wicklund patented the idea nearly two decades later but produced only a handful of models. The sport picked up speed in 1965, when Michigan’s Sherman Poppen created the Snurfer by cross-bracing two skis and adding a string at the front for steering. Poppen sold close to one million units by 1970.  Sherman Poppen created the Snurfer, immediate forerunner to the modern snowboard, in 1965. Courtesy Snurfer LLC But the real breakthrough happened when Dimitrije Milovich, a Cornell University dropout, founded Winterstick, the first modern snowboard company, in 1972. With steel edges, laminated fiberglass and, most crucially, nylon straps for one’s feet, Winterstick’s boards allowed riders to fly through more treacherous topography than its predecessors had.  Snowboarding went mainstream soon thereafter amid a fierce rivalry between Jake Burton Carpenter and Tom Sims. Sims, a New Jersey-raised professional skateboarder more interested in aerial stunts than in speed, founded SIMS Snowboarding in 1976. Carpenter, a race enthusiast from Long Island credited with coining “snowboarding,” created Burton Boards one year later.  “They’re endangering the public and possibly themselves!” As snowboarding grew in popularity, so did its reputation as a pastime for screwballs—a counterculture to skiing’s establishment vibe. In the 1980s, most North American ski...
“Rusty Preisendorfer Explains Why Your Surfboards Shouldn’t Be Bulletproof” by Rusty Preisendorfer via The Inertia

“Rusty Preisendorfer Explains Why Your Surfboards Shouldn’t Be Bulletproof” by Rusty Preisendorfer via The Inertia

If your surfboard doesn’t dent up a little bit, it’s not a good thing. Photo: Rusty Surfboards/Instagram Editor’s Note: This feature was made possible by our friends at Rusty Surfboards. Like a fine pair of shoes, new boards need to dent up a bit. They need to get broken in. If a board doesn’t, chances are it doesn’t flex. And that would not be good. In the early 1970s, companies offered up composite boards. Aqua Jet, Hansen, W.A.V.E. and more. They leaked and had other issues. Founded in Santa Cruz in the mid-nineties by shaper Randy French, Surftech made a very strong, light board. Composite construction. At first it was long boards. Then in the early 2000s, they started getting a few shortboards from various shapers. Several major builders jumped in around 2003. I felt it was a viable construction. Excellent for beginners and weekend warriors. I did have some issues with the boards because they were made overseas in Thailand, but I signed up. Several of our best sellers. Early 2005. The lead time was approximately nine months. Blank Monday. December 5, 2005. Clark Foam shut its doors. No warning; just a fax coming through at about 11 a.m. Less than a month later we were at the Orlando Surf Expo. Arguably the biggest. We agreed to let Surftech show our models in its booth. Conspiracy theories ran amuck. It was just timing and good luck? Polyurethane foam was next to impossible to get. I had built EPS boards in the mid eighties, primarily for a wave pool contest put on by the then-ASP. It was in 1985 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. It was...
“Will 2022 be the Year of the Dark Horse in Retail?” by Arick Wierson via The Robin Report

“Will 2022 be the Year of the Dark Horse in Retail?” by Arick Wierson via The Robin Report

My father grew up on a farm in central Iowa in the 1930s and 40s, and although life in the post-Depression heartland was pretty harsh, among his fondest memories from his childhood are those of his many horses, each one of them different shades of black. As a youngster, he had a black Shetland Pony named “Spanky.” Then in middle school came “Spot,” a black Murgese And in his final years of high school, his father – my grandpa, who by this time was feeling a bit less worried with the worst of the Great Depression more than two decades in the past, splurged and gave my dad a powerful riding horse named “Lucky,” a jet-black Percheron – apparently a ‘big hit’ with ladies in town (OK, whatever you say, dad.) . It is pretty much a given at this point that retailers will eventually have to enable payment and checkout solutions that accept Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Dogecoin. Anyway, decades later when yours truly was growing up in 70s and 80s in the Minneapolis suburbs, apparently my father felt that there was a gaping hole in my psycho-emotional development in that I had very little interaction with farm life, in particular, with horses. And the way in which he attempted to fill this void was with a near-endless menagerie of equine-themed birthday toys, trips to the annual ‘Horse Show” at the Minnesota State Fair and, of course, several trips to the cinema to see the now classic 1979 film “The Black Stallion,” starring Mickey Rooney and Teri Garr. Now, by this point, you are likely asking yourself what all...
“Virgil Abloh dies at 41” by Daphne Howland via Retail Dive

“Virgil Abloh dies at 41” by Daphne Howland via Retail Dive

Courtesy of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton Dive Brief: Fashion designer Virgil Abloh, founder of Off-White and artistic director for men’s at Louis Vuitton, died on Sunday. He was 41.Abloh had been undergoing treatment for a rare and aggressive cancer, cardiac angiosarcoma, for more than two years, but didn’t disclose the diagnosis to the public, according to an announcement from Off-White.Abloh wasn’t formally trained in fashion; he had a civil engineering degree from the University of Wisconsin and master’s in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology. But he has had a profound influence on today’s fashion and culture, even beyond the streetwear designs he is best known for. Dive Insight: The fashion world didn’t always know what to make of Virgil Abloh or his designs, but that only seemed to fuel his success. While he is best known for his work in apparel, Abloh’s work spanned several disciplines, including music and art; his graduate architecture studies featured curriculum developed by Mies van der Rohe, according to a press release from LVMH. Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh in 2012 began as a work of art dubbed “Pyrex Vision,” and the next year debuted as a branded runway collection during Paris Fashion Week. In 2015 Off-White was a finalist for the LVMH Prize. Earlier this year LVMH acquired a majority stake in the brand; previously Farfetch had acquired it when it took over parent New Guards Group. Abloh’s work with LVMH has been longstanding, and he was appointed men’s artistic director at Louis Vuitton in 2018. “We are all shocked after this terrible news,” LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault said in a statement. “Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man...
“A Look Back: Dogtown and Z Boys” (mini documentary about the documentary) by Glen E. Friedman via Thrasher Mag

“A Look Back: Dogtown and Z Boys” (mini documentary about the documentary) by Glen E. Friedman via Thrasher Mag

Dogtown and The Z Boys found an audience outside of the traditional skateboard community. Tony Alva, Peggy Oki, Stacy Peralta and more from the OG Zephyr scene break down why it worked and what was missing. Big Thanks to Glen E Friedman and Vans. Push play to watch this newly released documentary about Dog Town and Z Boys Dogtown and Z-Boys is a 2001 documentary film produced by Agi Orsi and directed by Stacy Peralta.[1] The documentary explores the pioneering of the Zephyr skateboard team in the 1970s (of which Peralta was a member) and the evolving sport of skateboarding. Using a mix of film of the Zephyr skateboard team (Z-Boys) shot in the 1970s by Craig Stecyk, along with contemporary interviews, the documentary tells the story of a group of teenage surfer/skateboarders and their influence on the history of skateboarding (and to a lesser extent surfing) culture. Dogtown and Z-Boys, narrated by Sean Penn, begins with the history of skateboarding in Southern California and how it had been strongly influenced by the surf culture in the surrounding areas of Santa Monica and Venice, nicknamed Dogtown.[2] Surf shop owners Jeff Ho, Skip Engblom, and Craig Stecyk established the Zephyr Skateboard Team with local teenagers from broken homes.[3] The sport of skateboarding continued to evolve as the Z-Boys continued to bring edgy moves influenced by surfing. During one of California’s record-breaking droughts, local backyard pools were emptied and became hotspots for these young skateboarders looking for places to skateboard.[2] The members of the Zephyr team gained notability and national attention when they competed in skateboard championships and started to receive media attention for their skills as young athletes. Testimonials and commentary provided by the members and founders of the Zephyr team combined with the rock-and-roll soundtrack and vintage footage...