Orange County Business Journal

PacSun Breaks Sales Slump, Adds Designers

RETAIL: first same-store gain since 2007; still seeking profits Kari Hamanaka Sunday, May 29, 2011

“(With) The Trade Collective we have the opportunity to collaborate with some of the very best designers and offer our customers exclusive products at PacSun that they cannot find elsewhere,” Lee said.

Older Customer

The company hopes to appeal to a slightly older customer with The Trade Collective as it continues to shift its women’s business from tweens to an older teen more interested in fashion.

Women’s T-shirts are a good example of that shift, Schoenfeld said.

“For a long time, (Pac Sun’s) women’s business in T-shirts meant a very simple, traditional basic T-shirt with a brand logo or brand graphics,” Schoenfeld said. “Clearly, the high school and college-aged female customer that we’re targeting, to a large degree, has moved well beyond that.”

Pacific Sunwear wants to keep its action sports apparel customers for men’s and women’s clothes.

“We believe that designer collaborations under The Trade Collective will appeal to our current customer and also forge an opportunity to introduce a new consumer to our brand,” Lee said.

The first test for The Trade Collective is a line by Los Angeles-based designer Andi Ballard, owner of the vintage-inspired Seneca Rising label.

“Seneca has a casual, boho style that is aspirational to our customer,” Lee said.

Seneca Rising is sold in boutiques such as Ron Herman and American Rag with prices from $75 to nearly $200.

Ballard’s line for Pacific Sunwear is set to debut in stores Sunday. It will include casual, bohemian-inspired dresses, tops and T-shirts priced at $26.50 to $39.50.

New designer collaborations are expected to be announced on a regular basis, Lee said.

The Trade Collective is a similar concept to ones carried out by other retailers who sell clothing lines exclusive to their stores.

Minneapolis-based Target Corp. has featured limited-edition collaborations with New York-based Proenza Schouler, Pasadena’s Rodarte and other high-end designers.

Pacific Sunwear’s Trade Collective also is similar to a program Lee oversaw as head of women’s merchandising for Philadelphia-based retailer Urban Outfitters Inc.

“Design collaborations are an integral part of today’s fashion complex,” Lee said.

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