Industry News 1/28/2008

New ASR Schedule Keeps Buyer Traffic Steady Throughout

New ASR Schedule Keeps Buyer Traffic Steady Throughout
A larger January show attracts big buyers with impressive brand line up and events

Despite economic uncertainty, ASR January 2008 opened with a larger show floor and positive vibes from action sports exhibitors and retail buyers.  ASR, held in San Diego from January 24-26th, showcased 2008 summer and fall styles, new trends, and cutting edge gear from over 500 surf, skate, swim, snow, moto, wake, lifestyle and streetwear brands.

“Every year ASR strives to improve the overall brand mix, retail attendance, special activities and event logistics to solidify its spot as the leading business event in action sports,” says Andy Tompkins, ASR Show Director. “The level of brand participation at the January show and positive feedback from business leaders suggest that ASR continues to be an integral part of action sports sales cycle.”

The ASR show floor facilitated a great deal of order writing over the three day event. Interest in action sports lifestyle lines continues to blossom, expanding the variety and size of retailer shopping at ASR. A diverse mix of buyers ranged from the world’s largest department stores, the trendiest boutiques and specialty retailers from over 40 countries.
 
“There were people serious about buying at this show. Walk in business was really good. We’re glad to be here and will be back at the next show,” says Kevin Lewis, VP of Sales and Marketing at Stereo, which exhibited in the skate hardgoods section of ASR.
 
Many buyers, especially those from beyond southern California, came to ASR to discover emerging trends and pick up new brands. Marc D’Emilia, owner of Coast-to-Coast shops in Long Island and White Plains, NY says, “Every time I come to ASR I pick up a new cutting edge brand for my shops.”
 
Up-and-coming brands such as The Originators, Sabre and Ambission took advantage of the large mix of buyers at ASR to pick up new accounts. “ASR gives brands like us the exposure to take it to the next level,” says Adam Bach, owner of The Originators. “As a streetwear brand with ties to skateboarding, ASR is a good vehicle for us to grow the brand and stand out.”
 
Dustin Odbert, co-owner of Ambission, says that he saw many good retailers and A-list media, “We actually took orders with new stores for the brand including Stewart, The Beach House and Ronin and showed the line to CCS. We’ve had goosebumps leaving the show everyday – it’s seriously been that good.”
 
The buzz around the industry’s crossover lifestyle brands such as Insight, Nixon and RVCA was electric. “We didn’t have an empty seat in the house on Thursday or Friday,” says RVCA VP of Sales, Eric Thomas. “The energy of a crowded booth kept bringing new people in.”
 
When asked about the effect of a possible recession, Fox said they didn’t feel it at ASR this week, "Traffic was solid throughout. Even on the last day, which is typically slower, we still had appointments booking until the show closed," says Kurt Schleicher, Director of Sales for Fox.

New Thursday through Friday Schedule:

In order to help accommodate the schedules of professional buyers, ASR staged in a Thursday – Saturday format instead of the more traditional Friday – Sunday day pattern.  Buyers and exhibitors agreed unanimously that the new Thursday – Saturday format facilitated the business aspects of ASR.
 
“This ASR it was very easy to do work. ASR is our chance to talk one on one and work out partnerships directly with the big guys away from the day-to-day distractions in our stores,” says Eric M. Miura, Owner of M. Miura in Kapa’a, Kauai. “I’ve been coming to ASR from day one and it keeps getting better and better.”

Special Sections:

To make the ASR floor as efficient as possible for buyers to navigate, ASR featured special areas for surf and skate hard goods, up-and-coming brands and even eco-driven products.

The ASR/SIMA Board Builders Pavilion continues to provide a platform for surfboards to shine. “Getting all of the board builders together in a centralized location was the smartest thing they could do,” says Shea Weber, Owner of Dewey Weber. “The Board Builders Pavilion allows retailer to see the smaller board brands they need to see in an efficient way.”

A priority for many buyers at ASR is not only to pinpoint the latest trends, but also scope out the next big labels. ASR’s Goldbox Mission presented by Boost Mobile, a section of new, up-and-coming brands, made that task possible even in a packed schedule. Thirty art driven, lifestyle brands exhibited in the central Goldbox Mission area, and added to the over 100 new brands on the show floor. 

The Action Sports Environmental Coalition, ASEC, joined ASR in creating a Green Room to bring brands, business solutions and natural products together for dealers to explore sustainable practices and environmental awareness.

The combination of sustainable product lines and related events gave ASR January a lower impact, ‘green’ glow. Green Steps environmental initiatives at ASR included a fully wind powered event, recycled carpeting and expanded recycling efforts sponsored by Ocean Minded.  In addition, the show badges and concessions used recycled products, while the ASR LineUp went digital saving huge amounts of paper.

Events:

The ASR Runway Show presented by Foam Magazine highlighted juniors and young contemporary styles found throughout ASR. The theme, Breakfast Club "Return of the High School Clique,” presented a complete look at trends for late summer and fall. “We don’t have time to see all of the booths, so this is a good time to spot the main trends for next season,” says Peggy Samson, a buyer for TJX companies.

The public was invited to join ASR attendees for the Matix Lord of the Lines contest on Saturday, January 26th. Simi Valley skater, Torey Pudwill took top honors in the contest with a three trick line in the finals that included a kickflip backside noseblunt slide.
 
ASR LineUp and Mediacast Now Online:

For all the action you couldn’t catch, check out the ASR MediaCast at ASRbiz.com or actionarchives.com for an updated, insider’s look at industry at work and play at ASR. Throughout the year, access the ASR LineUp online at ASRbiz.com/lineup. The LineUp is your best resource for finding the contacts, brands and background you need to conduct business in action sports, all just a click away.
 
ASR returns to San Diego, September 4-6th, 2008 in a continued Thursday-Saturday format. Check out ASRbiz.com for information and details on attending future ASR events.