QUICKSILVER SAID AMONG ROIAL SUITORS
Byline: Vicki M. Young
NEW YORK — Roial Apparel, a surf manufacturer targeting the young men’s market, is in acquisition talks with at least four potential buyers, including Quiksilver.
Randy Mello, senior director of Roial Apparel, told WWD Tuesday, “We are in a partner acquisition mode. We’re definitely talking to a few companies. The priority is Quiksilver.” Mello said he doesn’t anticipate a decision, or even finalization of terms, until sometime next week.
“We’re looking for an all-around partner. We still need to perfect the young men’s side of the business, from back-end to front-end infrastructure,” Mello said.
Executives from Quiksilver could not be reached for comment.
According to Mello, Roial is slated to introduce a women’s line in the U.S. for spring 2003. It will be offered exclusively to Roial boutiques in Japan first, the senior director said. The company opened its first freestanding boutique in 1999 in Tokyo. Roial plans to add boutiques in Japan during a two-year period beginning next year.
In the U.S., Roial currently sells to specialty surf and skate retailers. Among specialty boutique retailers that offer Roial apparel are Urban Outfitters, The Closet, Rolo, Villains, Fred Segal, American Rag Cie, Untitled and Zebra Club. Roial merchandise is also available at select retailers such as Pac Sun, Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom.
Roial currently does $2 million in annual sales. “Our three-year projection is $12 million,” Mello said.
The company is spearheaded by the design duo of Bobby Knudtson and Casey Wheat, both former pro surfers. The company has been focused on the young men’s market but defines that customer as being between the ages of 14 and 45.
In 1998, Roial created the tagline “CultureMusicLifestyle.” Mello described the brand as the “Prada of surfwear.” He added that the lifestyle-focused brand has a cross-market identity, one that’s “between Diesel and Stussy.”