LOS ANGELES – Volcom, with a store just opened at Westfield Century City, remains focused on broadening the action sports brand’s reach beyond its core customer base, chief executive officer Todd Hymel said.
“We, over the last couple of years, have been looking at our overall strategy and development and where we feel the brand should be moving and focusing,” Hymel said. “One of the areas we have identified is we are a brand that has a really strong credibility and history in skate, street, art and music and have decided to open a couple stores in key locations.”
That included last year’s opening of a flagship in Paris and then the Century City store at the recently revamped shopping center. Hymel went on to say the store offers an opportunity to show the world of Volcom beyond surf.
The brand, Hymel said, has historically been distributed in largely coastal areas with a major portion of sales being generated from places such as California, Hawaii, Florida, the south of France, north of Spain and Australia.
“We’ve been predominantly distributed by and influenced by the beach and cities that have easy access to water,” Hymel said. “So, as we’re moving toward our strategy of expansion, this emphasis on major cities is what’s allowing us to penetrate more new consumers.”
Volcom, unlike many of its peers at the time of its founding in 1991 by Richard Woolcott and Tucker Hall, was rare in its appeal across board sports — surf, skate and snow — in addition to its focus on art and music. It was also the last of the industry brands to go public in 2005 before being acquired in 2011 by Kering, then PPR, for about $608 million. Kering in May said it would place Volcom on the sales block as it bolstered its focus on a portfolio of luxury brands.
Volcom now has roughly 120 stores worldwide with about 35 of those doors operated by licensees. Hymel said the company is open to more doors but declined to offer any specific strategy on a goal door count or what markets looked attractive for new stores.
“We’re completely opportunistic right now,” he said. “We’re having significant growth in our direct-to-consumer business, driven by our e-commerce and our retail. What we want to make sure of is when there’s an opportunity for us to go somewhere, we look at it…. We’ve got plenty of opportunities that come across the table and we look at them.”
Kering bumped Hymel to the ceo of action sports brands in 2015, which included overseeing Volcom and former sister brand Electric. Later that same year long-time Volcom executive and then Volcom ceo Jason Steris parted ways with the firm, and Hymel assumed the top spot at the action sports company.
“What we’ve been predominantly working on over the last two and a half, three years was not only how you broaden the language of Volcom to be more inclusive, we’ve also taken an aggressive stance to expand our women’s business.”
That has included collaborations with Georgia May Jagger and a recently launched extended sizing in its denim range for fall that will eventually broaden out to other women’s categories.
Hymel said women’s currently accounts for less than 30 percent of the overall business.
Greater size inclusivity on the men’s side is also something the company has worked toward. Earlier in the summer, Volcom began offering more sizes in men’s. The company’s popular Frickin stretch chino pant now goes up to a 46-inch waist and there are more double- and triple-XL sizes in some of the T-shirt styles.