Billabong continues to struggle along, this time by selling 92 West 49 retail stores across Canada to YM Inc., owners of Sirens, Stitches, Urban Planet, and Bluenotes for approximately C$9 million-C$11 million or between USD $8.6-$10.5 million.
In a statement Neil Fiske, CEO of Billabong, said, “The sale of West 49 is part of our broader strategy of simplifying our business and focusing on the core of what we do best, which is building strong global brands.”
Looking back over the past 2 years, the one-time surf giant has been through extremely difficult hardships. Not only were they out of sync with youth culture today, which has shifted away from certain action sports trends (see also our Youth Culture Studies), but the brand also purchased a series of other companies at the wrong time. They have not only sold many of their brands including Nixon and DaKine, but have also changed top management and refinanced through Oaktree Capital Management and Centerbridge Partners.
Billabong and other top surf brands such as Quiksilver, which recently sold Mervin Manufacturing, are indicative of an industry under significant change. From the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) tour management changes and shifts in competitions, to Hurley and Nike pulling out of the U.S. Open of Surfing and Vans taking over, the shake-down is still underway as surfing as an industry is forced to change to a new consumer marketplace.
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