BILLABONG International (ASX:BBG) has cemented itself as the number one surfwear brand in Australia, according to retailer feedback compiled by US-based ActionWatch, however CEO Neil Fiske recognises there is still more to be done.
Independent analysis of 150 action sports retail stores across the US suggest the Gold Coast-based global surfwear group dominated the surfwear sector in 2015 for both men's and women's apparel.
ActionWatch's Cary Allington also confirms in industry publication Shop-Eat-Surf that Billabong's men's and boys' is the number one brand among the ActionWatch's panel of core specialty stores.
Looking at women, Billabong has close to twice the market share of its nearest competitor, recording both sales and market share gains in 2015 in a tough retail market, according to the same report.
"At the outset of our turnaround we said a key focus would be Billabong's engagement with our core surf market," says Billabong CEO Neil Fiske.
"ActionWatch's data reflects our investment in working with and listening to speciality surf retailers, whose understanding of what the core consumer wants is second to none. These retail partners are critical to our ongoing success.
"In a tough sector, with many brand choices, Billabong has widened its lead in speciality retail."
Billabong also proved successful at the Australian Surf Industry Awards announced in Sydney recently.
For the second year in a row, the brand won both men's and women's brand of the year and took out the award for swimmer brand of the year.
"In our two largest markets core retailers have identified Billabong as the industry leader," says Fiske.
"We are pleased with our progress and know that we still have room for more growth and market share gains.
"While we are number one overall, we are not yet number one in all our categories and all retailers. That remains our goal."
In FY15, Billabong returned to annual profit for the first time since 2011 and reported a net result of $4.1 million. Billabong slipped back to a loss in the first half of FY16, with a $1.6 million deficit.
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