Zumiez tinkers with its product mix, plans fewer new stores

According to the Seattle Times in article byAmy Martinez: Still not seeing any letup in the recession, Zumiez CEO Rick Brooks said the Everett-based retailer has been working with its vendors to get more low-priced merchandise into stores for back-to-school shopping. “This is the toughest economic environment I’ve ever worked in,” Brooks said Wednesday during the company’s annual shareholder meeting in Everett. He said Zumiez has been opening fewer new stores to reflect its diminished sales outlook, though its overall strategy remains the same. The retailer sells clothing, equipment and shoes inspired by board sports. “We’re staying true to who we are,” he said more than once, noting the company will maintain “strong training programs” for store employees and emphasize products that can’t be found elsewhere at the mall. Outside vendors will continue to account for about 85 percent of its sales, he said, meaning its own private labels will not take up more space in stores even though they generally are seen as a way to boost profits. “We’re going to support the brands in our business,” Brooks said. “We believe in the brands out there.” Zumiez operates about 360 stores aimed at skateboarding and snowboarding enthusiasts in 32 states. For the three months ended May 2, it lost $1.7 million, compared with a profit of $1.4 million a year ago. It expects another loss for the second quarter. After opening 58 new stores last year, Zumiez plans 36 new stores this year and has committed to “only a handful” of additional locations next year, Brooks said. He declined to discuss a possible deal for Active Ride Shop,...

Active to File for Bankruptcy

Here is the official press release: Active Ride Shop to Reorganize Under Chapter 11 -Active Ride Shop Remains Fully Operational and Open for Business Mira Loma, CA, March 23rd, 2009 – Active Ride Shop today announced that it has filed a voluntary petition for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court in Riverside. The company is focusing on executing a comprehensive corporate restructuring plan without interruption to business operations. Active Ride Shop recently announced that it was taking action to address the company’s financial challenges. Alongside the strategic counsel provided by Marc Winthrop, of Winthrop Couchot, one of Southern California’s leading bankruptcy law firms and Stephen Bell, of Phoenix Group Advisory Services, LLC, a professional financial and operational advisory firm, the company has determined that it would be in the best interest of its stakeholders to file for reorganization protection under Chapter 11. Operating under the protection of Chapter 11 will provide the company’s vendors with assurances that they will be paid for merchandise the company receives post-filing so the company can be sufficiently stocked for the spring selling season. The restructuring plan will position Active Ride Shop with a stronger business foundation, an improved multi-channel distribution source for its vendors, and a more meaningful offering for its customers. The company recognizes that, to achieve these objectives, there is a critical need to create a more efficient operation with a reduced cost structure. As previously announced, the company has closed 8 under-performing retail locations. This week, the company took action to realign its corporate support structure alongside the smaller store...

Action-Sports Store To Watch: Active

California Apparel News names Active Action-Sports Store to Watch. “Skate fashions might florify carefree and irresponsible youth, but their recent sales detail a well-prepared performance. According to New York-based market-research firm NPD Group, sales of skate footwear increased 6.5 percent in the weeks between March and April 2008, while the entire category of athletic footwear declined 5.7 percent. Mira Loma Calif.- based Active is riding the crest of skate success by offering a mix of skate and streetwear brands…yet they just won SIMA’s coveted Surf Retailers of the Year Award? The 19-year-old company has 25 stores spread across Southern California, and its growth spurt continues across Southern California. By the end of 2008, it will open 7000 square foot flagship stores in downtown San Diego and in downtown Huntington Beach. The Huntington store will not compete with high-profile specialty emporiums, Jack’s Surf and Huntington Surf & Sport because “Active does not carry surf-related products, and we don’t intend on stocking surf-related products in Huntington...