Rip Curl, the renowned Australian surfing brand that was acquired by New Zealand group Kathmandu just before the onset of the global pandemic, has experienced a remarkable surge in sales following the lifting of lockdown measures. Despite a significant decrease in revenue of over 17% from November 2019 to July 2020, Rip Curl still managed to generate an impressive NZD316 million (€177 million) in revenue. It is estimated that the brand suffered a revenue loss of approximately NZD70 million due to the pandemic.

Despite facing integration costs within the Kathmandu group, Rip Curl’s EBITDA remained positive at NZD11.7 million. The brand did experience a decline in business with multiple brand retailers as the Fall/Winter sales season in the northern hemisphere was heavily affected by the pandemic.

However, there is a silver lining for Rip Curl, as the Kathmandu group noticed promising signs in its monobrand stores, where sales grew by 14.4% after the lockdown compared to a 2.6% increase before the lockdown. This growth can be attributed to government measures that stimulated the economy and an increase in surfing opportunities as more people worked from home. The rising interest in surfing led to a sales increase of 17.7% in Australia and 20.6% in Europe. While the USA also experienced growth in comparable sales after the lifting of the lockdown, stores in Hawaii suffered greatly due to travel restrictions.

The lockdown period proved to be a turning point for Rip Curl’s online sales, which experienced a significant increase of 52% compared to the previous year. Online sales now contribute more than 10% to the brand’s direct-to-consumer sales.

In contrast to Rip Curl’s performance, the Kathmandu group’s namesake retail chain witnessed a sales decline of 9.7%, amounting to NZD426 million in the 2019-20 financial year. Oboz, a footwear brand under the Kathmandu group, also took a hit with a sales slump of 15.2%, bringing sales down to NZD37.8 million.

Overall, the Kathmandu group, led by Xavier Simonet, generated a total revenue of NZD801 million (€450 million) in the 2019-20 financial year, with EBITDA reaching NZD83.4 million. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Rip Curl has clearly demonstrated its ability to adapt and thrive in the post-lockdown sales landscape. With a strong online presence and a growing interest in surfing, the brand is well-positioned for future success.

Useful links:
1. Rip Curl Official Website
2. Kathmandu Group Official Website