Authentic Brands Group (ABG), a global owner of more than 50 brands including Nautica, Aeropostale, Tretorn, Airwalk and Vision Streetwear and also a marketing and entertainment company, recently announced the purchase of the intellectual property of the iconic Volcom brand from Kering S.A. Through this acquisition, ABG wants to diversify its lifestyle brands offer by adding America’s first brand dedicated to skate, surf and snow, while its aims to boost the value of its portfolio to more than $9.3 billion in annual retail sales.
Similar to the operating structure created when it acquired Aéropostale, ABG has taken a minority stake in Liberated Brands, a newly formed operating company for Volcom’s CEO Todd Hymel and current management team who have taken the majority stake in Liberated Brands and will maintain the Volcom operations based in the US, France, Australia and Japan with continued oversight of the brand’s product development, athlete marketing and retail and wholesale businesses worldwide.
ABG will focus on amplifying brand awareness and business development for Volcom while leveraging Liberated Brands’ specialized retail and wholesale operations as a platform for international expansion of complementary ABG-owned brands.
Jamie Salter, founder, chairman and CEO, Authentic Brands Group, explained to SI how Volcom will develop and help increase the group’s sales.
How do you want to relaunch Volcom?
Our goal for Volcom isn’t necessarily to relaunch the brand but to reinforce and amplify its current position in the action/boardsports industry. Volcom is an original, American boardsports brand and is one of the few in the space that has been able to grow while maintaining its core values.
In collaboration with Liberated Brands, we’ll be building upon Volcom’s strong presence around the world, investing in its core men’s and snow businesses while further expanding in the women’s and kids’ categories.
What is Volcom’s current product offering?
Volcom offers a full range of performance and lifestyle products for men, women and kids. We’re working closely with Liberated Brands to continue developing apparel, outerwear, footwear and accessories that combine functionality and athletic performance.
Will you start new lines like jeanswear and increase accessories and eventually collabs?
As we engage with Volcom’s core audiences, we’ll continue to diversify the brand’s offerings based on feedback and demand from consumers. ABG’s Digital Innovations Group will play an important role in interacting with Volcom’s social media followers and engaging younger audiences, including Millennials and Gen Z’s, to capture key insights that will help determine future brand offerings.
Will you open monobrand stores or eventually increase the number of the existing ones?
Today, Volcom has approximately 100 retail stores globally with distribution in 60 countries. We’re are looking at new locations for Volcom with our partners Simon Property Group and Brookfield Properties in the US and will be opening new stores in the back half of this year.
What are the markets where Volcom is mostly sold and where does it want to expand?
With operations in the US, France, Australia and Japan, Volcom has strong presence around the world. 55% of the brand’s revenue is generated from US sales, while 45% is generated internationally.
ABG has an established presence in Latin America and Mexico and continues to see growth in these regions. We’re opening our first office in Mexico City this year, dedicated to driving new business for our brands.
For Volcom, we’re targeting Greater China, South Korea, Southeast Asia, Latin America and Mexico for expansion.
Additionally, Liberated Brands has a specialized product development and wholesale operation in Europe. ABG will be leveraging this operation as a platform to grow complementary ABG-owned brands in the region including Nautica, Aéropostale, Vision Street Wear, Airwalk, Juicy Couture and Frye.