By  on June 30, 2005

ANGLET, FRANCE — Forget about just Surfin' USA.

Surfwear has the potential to make waves across the globe, according to Bernard Mariette, president of Quiksilver, and his company is out to capitalize on the growth.

"Europe is a motor for the sport," said Mariette, in France earlier this month to launch a retail concept in this small coastal village near Biarritz. "[Quiksilver] has its roots in the United States, but it is a global brand now."

Mariette disclosed plans to open stores as far afield as Eastern Europe, Poland and China. Immediate plans call for 15 new units expected to roll out over the next three years. The company is set to enter Poland in 2006, where the surfwear market is riding its first waves of success, and China, as early as 2007.

Proof that surfing is a compelling sport for consumers everywhere, Mariette said Quiksilver's two-year-old flagship in the middle of Times Square did $10 million in its first year. He predicted its two-floor flagship that will open on London's Regent Street in October has the potential to generate even higher sales volume.

Quiksilver has equally big plans for the concept unveiled in Anglet, hoping it can be transported to new markets.

"Anglet is the ideal location for an outdoor sports laboratory," he said during an interview at the unveiling of the store earlier this month, which was attended by world champion surfers including Kelly Slater and Lisa Anderson. "Europe's diversity of cultures puts the concept store to the ultimate test."

Sprawling over 22,600 square feet, the unit has two stores, Quiksilver and Andaska, the multibrand outdoor specialty chain Quiksilver acquired in July 2004. Each boutique has its own entrance, but the two are connected via the Cafe Ono, a healthy fast-food restaurant created by the Quiksilver team.

"It's a store that [allows] shoppers to experience the outdoors while indoors," said Mariette, as two young girls on in-line skates whizzed by, heading for the skate park inside the Quiksilver shop.

The Anglet store is yet another example of Quiksilver's growing international focus. In 2004, its European revenues increased 29 percent to $496.3 million, with figures translated from the euro. The company operates 160 Boardriders Club stores in Europe, 69 of which are in France. Quiksilver's overall sales were $1.27 billion in 2004. Worldwide, Quiksilver operates about 400 stores, with some 80 units in the U.S.

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