Quiksilver CEO Kicks Up Pace

LOS ANGELES — Six months after taking the reins at Quiksilver Inc., President and CEO Andy Mooney is hoping to create a wave of consumer enthusiasm for the firm’s three shoe brands.

Footwear makes up about 25 percent of total sales for the Huntington Beach, Calif.-based company, and while Mooney declined to disclose exact goals, he said the category has a strong upside, along with the larger apparel business.

“I’m not so much concerned about the relative mix of footwear to apparel,” he said. “I want it all to grow.”

Across the firm’s brand portfolio, which includes Quiksilver, Roxy and DC Shoes, the CEO said he intends to inject vigor into the product development process.

Mooney, who joined the firm in January, noted that the Roxy label is poised to expand both in sandals and closed-toe footwear with a more fashionable look. The ultimate goal is to capture a bigger share of the youth demographic.

“In closed-toe, we feel there is tremendous opportunity,” Mooney said. “The great thing about the brand is the latitude in products we can offer. We have a lot of categorical room to maneuver on both the functional and technical side of the business.”

After a successful introduction of boots for fall ’13, Roxy is set to add vulcanized looks, as well as more technical product that could be introduced by spring ’15.

“We definitely want to do this from an innovation perspective with Roxy in particular,” Mooney said, stressing that he does not want to rush the process. “We want it to come out of the kitchen when it’s fully baked.”

Aiding the product push is Tom Hartge, global head of footwear, who joined the company in March after a 28-year career at Nike. “With the Roxy outdoor fitness enthusiast, we’re trying to understand what she needs in a more performance-oriented shoe,” Hartge said. “It’s a bit of a blank canvas, which is exciting but also daunting.”

For the DC brand, Mooney said there are opportunities on a variety of fronts. For starters, the market continues to push technically driven product.

“We feel this is an industry that thrives and has a level of product geekdom that continues to grow and grow,” he said.

In spring ’14, the label is introducing the Chris Cole Lite 2 signature shoe, featuring a dual-density EVA sole for the first time in the company’s history.

At the same time, DC also is reintroducing classic styles with material and color updates for spring ’14.

In addition, Mooney said, the brand is working on reorganizing its distribution into a tiered system.

“We’re taking a more thoughtful approach to [product] segmentation,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Quiksilver brand has had a strong business in low-priced sandals, but Mooney believes the label can achieve more with higher-end products. “What Tom and I want to do is elevate the total quality of the product — higher price and higher quality,” he said, noting that sandals currently average about $20 at retail. “We feel there is a chance to introduce elements to the line that double and triple those price points.”

While some of those products will begin to trickle into the marketplace for spring ’14, Mooney said the more dramatic changes will be felt for fall ’14 and beyond. “I’m a big believer in always trying to move quality and price up,” he said. “We definitely want to find innovative ways to move the price. You won’t see any dramatic evolution in price for spring, but it’s an ongoing process.”

When it comes to marketing, the company is reallocating its dollars across the entire roster.

“In my view, we’ve been overspending on athletes and events and we want to shift to social media, point of sale and print media,” Mooney said.

With DC, he aims to expand the brand’s exposure beyond traditional surf and skate publications into women’s magazines and fashion books. For Quiksilver and Roxy, the firm plans to spend more on in-store concepts going forward. “On the surf side, because we had really treated [footwear] as an accessory, we haven’t put the energy into things like POS fixturing,” Mooney said.

The fresh focus on footwear is good news to market watchers.

“[Prior to Mooney joining the company], they did what a lot of other footwear companies tend to do from time to time, which is to stay on a trend a little too long and perhaps not move product development forward as fast as it needs to,” said Jeff Van Sinderen, analyst at B. Riley & Co. “[Now] they certainly have identified a number of issues that need to be corrected, and they will right their ship with product development.”