Pacific Sunwear of California (PacSun) knows that teens aspire to the "swag" of the board sports world. The company operates about 730 mall-based apparel stores (down from 950 several years ago) in all 50 US states and Puerto Rico under the names Pacific Sunwear and PacSun, and an e-commerce site. It courts the young and active consumer by representing brands associated with surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding, including apparel by Billabong, Volcom, and Quicksilver, as well as footwear by DC Shoes, and others. PacSun also sells its own private-label merchandise (Bullhead, Black Poppy, Kirra, and Nollie). Amid a steep decline in sales, the teen-focused chain is closing scores of stores.
All of PacSun's sales are rung up in the US and Puerto Rico. The company's largest markets are California (its home state), Texas, and Florida, which combined account for more than a quarter of its stores.
PacSun's precipitous sales and profit plunge continued in fiscal 2012 (ends January) with sales down 10% vs. the previous year. It was the company's fifth consecutive year in the red. Indeed, Pac Sun's sales have fallen about 42% over the past four years as the US economy faltered and its young clientele shopped elsewhere. Same-store sales of men's merchandise was flat while women's decreased 1% vs. the prior year. (Men account for about half of Pac Sun's total sales.) With sales and profits declining, the company has drastically trimmed its budget for capital expenditures to $13 million in 2012 from more than $100 million four years ago.
Historically fast-growing, PacSun skid to a halt as the US economy and its sales sputtered. The retailer has shuttered more than 220 stores over the past four years. In fiscal 2012 (ends January) alone, the chain shuttered about 120 locations as it continues to downsize. No new locations are planned. By closing underperforming shops and renegotiating lease agreements, the company aims to bolster its bottom line. PacSun is also taking steps to win back non-apparel sales lost to faster-growing brands, such as Zumiez. To reverse its slide and regain its street cred, PacSun is expanding the number of stores stocking footwear and accessories, which currently account for about 14% of total sales, down from about 33% in 2006. Concurrently, in a bid to grow its business with young women, the chain has buffed up its tomboy image. PacSun has begun refurbishing its namesake stores to include bigger fitting rooms for women, and better lighting and displays. The company's proprietary brands account for a growing slice of its sales (52% in fiscal 2012 vs. 48% in fiscal 2010). Leading the turnaround effort at PacSun is CEO Gary Schoenfeld. In late 2011 Schoenfeld drove a successful $160 million financing deal, infusing the company with $100 million in revolving credit and $60 million loan.
The family-run investment firm, GI2 Ltd., which began accumulating PacSun shares in fall 2010, is now the company's largest shareholder with about a 30% stake. PS Holdings of Delaware owns about 20%, while Adage Capital Management owns nearly 15%. – less