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O.C. BUSINESS PLUS | HEARD ON THE BEAT / RETAIL

Top Sellers at PacSun: O.C. Surfwear Firms

March 08, 2000|Leslie Earnest | Leslie Earnest covers retail businesses for The Times. She can be reached at (714) 966-7832 and at leslie.earnest@latimes.com

Orange County's surfwear companies are continuing to drive sales at PacSun stores, which cater to surfers, skaters and snowboarders.

Top-selling brands at the stores are Irvine-based Billabong, Huntington Beach-based Quiksilver, and O'Neill, also in Irvine, PacSun Chief Executive Greg Weaver said.

PacSun did lose one high-profile line recently when Bob Hurley, founder of the Hurley brand of surfwear, pulled the product from the mall-based chain, apparently out of concern that PacSun's rapid growth could hurt sales in some small surf shops.

Surf shops, needless to say, love Hurley's way of thinking.

"It doesn't give people a need to come to the smaller surf shops if all those brands are carried in the malls," said Aaron Winterswyk, a salesman for Surfside Sports in Newport Beach. And it is this sort of thing that makes Hurley popular with locals, he added.

"It's not that we would expect it, but it is kind of a loyalty thing," he said.

Weaver told analysts that Hurley products accounted for about $2.8 million, less than 1%, of PacSun's sales. "Small potatoes," an analyst responded during a conference call.

There aren't many surfers on Wall Street.

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