Authentic Brands Group, owner of the Southern California-based action sports brand, has signed a deal with China Ting Group to expand the brand in that country. Under the terms of the deal, China Ting will open 12 freestanding stores and shops-in-shop this year and eventually roll that number out to around 200 points of sale over the next five years, according to Jarrod Weber, group president lifestyle and chief brand officer for ABG. Its e-commerce site will also be relaunched next year.
The first two stores opened earlier this month in the Mixc Mall, located in Hangzhou’s premium shopping district, and the Sanya Summer mall in China’s surfing and beach resort capital.
Although Volcom has been sold on the Tmall e-commerce site for the past decade, this marks the first brick-and-mortar presence for the brand in China.
“We see this as our next big growth opportunity,” said Todd Hymel, chief executive officer of Volcom. “We earmarked this region as significant because of the youthful culture that resonates in the market. We believe the consumer there is ripe for the Volcom brand.”
ABG acquired the intellectual property rights for Volcom from Kering last year for an undisclosed sum. Weber said since that time, the world has dramatically changed and gotten more complicated. “But brands that resonate with the consumer will always have a place. That’s the value of Volcom — its staying power.”
While Volcom may be best known for surf and skateboarding, the brand has made strides in snowboarding over the past several years. It is also the official apparel sponsor of the U.S. Snowboarding team.
Beijing will be the host of the 2022 Winter Olympics, which Hymel expects to provide a further boost in visibility and business to the brand in China. According to the 2019 China Ski Industry Whitepaper Report, the estimated size of China’s snowboarding business is currently $115 million with year-over-year growth rate of 25 to 30 percent.
“We look forward to building a successful, long-term partnership with Authentic Brands Group,” said Ray Ting, vice president of the China Ting Group. “As America’s first boarding company, Volcom is known throughout the world for innovation and integrity and we’re excited to bring it into the mainstream here in China.”
Weber said the merchandise that will be sold in China will “take its strategic direction from the States” and is expected to be “very similar” to that sold here, although there will be some pieces that are created specially for the Asian consumer.
The U.S. continues to be Volcom’s largest market but 45 percent of its sales now come from outside the American shores, Hymel said. It is sold in 60 countries around the world and operates 130 freestanding stores and shops-in-shop. After North America, its next largest regions are Europe, Japan and Australia, he said.
Volcom was founded by Richard Woolcott and Tucker Hall in 1991. It went public in 2005, acquired Electric in 2008 and was sold to Kering, then PPR, for $608 million in 2011.