Retailer Profile: Shore, East Wittering, UK

Shop Name: Shore

Location: East Wittering, UK


Shore is a watersports specialist who have been providing a large selection of surfing hardware and fashion for over 30 years.

What are the benefits of having a physical shop over simply having an online store?
Having a physical shop does give you a lot of creditability that you cannot gain from online only. Our coast location store is one of the largest specialist watersports stores in the UK so customers know that we have enthusiasts using the equipment day in day out and this counts for a lot when competing against online warehouses operating miles from the coast. Customers love to droll over the latest products that they have heard about so for us the combination of a very large retail unit works well for good shop sales and helps grow the online business.  A lot of shop customers also shop at out online store when they are not able to get down. We have recently had Google Street View around the store and its amazing to hear what people think when they physically see the stock and selection we have.

What upcoming trends do you see on the horizon?
Obviously a lot of hype is coming from the outdoor and more premium lifestyle labels but we still see really good sales from the established surfing brands. I think some of these new brands are on trend but very young and just do not have the wider brand recognition they need to be able to go mainstream. Its great that they offer some very premium nice stuff but you cannot run a retail business on logo line t-shirts alone. SUP is on the brink of mainstream and I would expect a big ramp in sales in this area this summer. 

What makes your store different to any competition?
Our store has been in the same village for over 30 years offering what we think is a great selection of watersports equipment and fashion. We have evolved with the times moving into areas of growth but always keeping the core business focused on the watersports enthusiasts and what they need and require. A good example of us always updating and moving forward is the complete refitting of the O’Neill wetsuit buying area where the changing rooms have been transformed into a pleasant environment where the customer choices their new wetsuit in a modern air conditioned spacious area that has been purpose built with the customer in mind. Offering this new dedicated changing area has already seen a jump in sales as customers are able to try on more suits and get the best fit without getting hot and uncomfortable with room for family and friends to relax at the same time. Gone is the broom cupboard with the old curtain!

What has sold the best in the store in the last 12 months?
As we cover many different sports and a massive offering of fashion and hardware we do tend to focus on brands that see the most growth so for winter Patagonia wetsuits came new into the market for us and really made some serious headway. For the summer the sandal market is absolutely huge for us both in store and online and great weather we have had at the start of the summer means sandals are flying!

What percentage of your sales are from online business compared to your in-store sales?
70% Online 30% in store but we can see good growth again in store as people are coming back to touching and feeling the product.

Which up and coming brands do you hope to stock in the future?
I think the new brand on the scene Vissla looks to be strong and we are seeing some very good growth in the outdoor brand Patagonia which is very new for us. We are hoping to be offering some high end hardware brands imported from abroad as well as looking to take on some established brands surf hardware brands we have yet to stock. 

What is the biggest threat to our industry?
Direct selling from the suppliers via there own websites or though suppliers owned websites where discounting and stock clearance is paramount. Retailing branded products is a partnership between supplier and retailer with both parties promoting the brand if competition between these two parties is added it’s a rush to the bottom for the brand.

Outlook for 2014/15?
The outlook looks positive especially for the UK economy so confidence is the key to the public getting out there and buying. There is growth in new areas of hardware particularly kayak and SUP and wetsuits sales continue to grow year on year for us. I think the mainstream surf fashion brands will surely now show some positive signs as they reposition themselves properly and generally for Shore the outlook is very positive with the store looking the best it ever has done and the online store cementing itself as simple and easy place to shop. Watch this space. 

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