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ASB MAGAZINE: Despite admitting that the retail space was never short of challenges, Backdoor, Chief of Surf, Geoff Hutchieson, is continuing to grow the brand. Backdoor recently acquired Seasons Cheapskates, which has been operating for more than 20 years in New Plymouth.

“We’ve got 15 stores at the moment, but that will be 18 by Christmas,” Hutch told ASBMAG. “We’re opening in Christchurch next month [September] and also Kapiti Coast north of Wellington in October and taking on a store in New Plymouth in October as well.”

Geoff, 55, said that not all the stores used the same model. Four of them were more hardware driven, which he called the board stores, and the rest were driven by apparel, but still had some hardware, especially soft boards.

“We are shifting a bit further into more of a hardware focus for some of our stores,” Geoff explains. “Apparel is still around 50% of what we do though and that has shifted from 55% five years ago. Hardware has picked up that difference.”

He said they used to do 5% of their turnover as snow, but that had “all gone to T7 now and we’ve abandoned it”.

According to Geoff the biggest challenge right now was trying to work out what was going to happen with the Quiksilver Boardriders, Amazon and Billabong merger. Particularly what might become of the Amazon stores.

That’s a question being asked by many right now. In New Zealand the shuffling has begun with long-time Billabong/Amazon Surf New Zealand general manager Jason Neely one of the first to exit the empire. Jason started as GM of the New Zealand operation in 2010 following a three-year stint as general manager of Australia retail for Billabong International from 2007-2010.

David Keay, Head of Retail Australia and New Zealand for the Quiksilver Boardriders, Amazon and Billabong group, was asked for comment on the future direction of the company and brands, but had not responded at time of deadline.

More information next issue. Read our Full Interview with Hutch HERE