Although Volcom's marketing works, its marketing isn't just a ploy. Volcom's founder, Richard "Wooly" Woolcott, was a professional surfer who turned his passion into his business. Woolcott's participation in the board-sports culture helps give Volcom's business and brand a real air of authenticity with its target demographic.
Its marketing is brilliant in its anarchic force. Volcom not only sponsors board-sports competitions, but it also produces films and music. A quick trip to Volcom's website leaves you hard-pressed to actually find the merchandise it's peddling. And as unconventional as that might seem, I'd say that's part of the magic. Volcom's striving to make it clear that it's the real deal, dude.
That authenticity, I think, protects Volcom from the inevitable fall from grace of many other fad brands and concepts. I'd argue that Volcom's careful positioning will protect it from flaming out, which is exactly what many people fear in stocks like this, which may or may not prove themselves to be passing fancies without staying power. Crocs
Anarchy's good business
It might all sound a little crazy for many investors; lots of us might think that doing a "nosegrind" sounds like something painful that we'd rather avoid, whereas for the skateboarding culture, it's just another trick in the repertoire. But there's been nothing crazy -- or painful, for that matter -- about Volcom's double-digit growth rates in sales and profits over the past several years.
Of course, last year, Volcom shares did get slammed at one point by the problems that Pacific Sunwear
Despite the rebellious attitude, there's nothing rebellious about the way Volcom runs its business. Check out its balance sheet. The company's got plenty of cash -- $85 million -- and just $201,000 in debt.
Meanwhile, although Volcom has a double-digit forward P/E at the moment, its growth trajectory looks promising. Volcom's profit is expected to dip for all of 2006, but its revenues are expected to increase by 27.2%. (In December, I penned a Year in Review piece for this Motley Fool Hidden Gems recommendation, in case you want to take a trip down memory lane while you're making your decision on where you stand in this duel.) Going forward, analysts expect revenue growth of 31.6% and earnings growth of 25.1% this year, and revenue growth of 23.1% and earnings growth of 21% in 2008.
There is, of course, the risk that the momentum Volcom has experienced with its brand may come grinding to a halt. However, given the work this company does on furthering its brand and keeping its brand integrity, and the close relationship it keeps with the board sports culture, I'd say there's little risk of that.
"Jock" sports, like football and baseball, may seem as American as apple pie, but so-called extreme sports, like skateboarding, snowboarding, and surfing, are quickly earning their own separate place in the sports universe and gaining mainstream traction all the time. I love watching skateboarding -- I'd rather watch skaters doing tricks on a half-pipe over big guys grappling over a pigskin any day. And it's not just me -- in testament to the growing popularity of such sports, snowboarding was added to the Winter Olympics in 1998.
Given the trends at hand, I'd say the surf's up for Volcom.
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