Planet Interview with Stan Chaves of the Inline Warehouse:
Skate Sales Are Climbing at the Inline Warehouse
The skate industry has been a bad place to look for good news in the last few years, what with sagging sales, closing skate shops, and declining participation.
So it was a surprise last month when Lee Cole of Skates-dot-com piped up with something hopeful: "Internet sales have taken off," he said.
He reported selling twelve-hundred pairs of skates over the holiday season and said he was about to bring in 1000 more.
The Inline Warehouse
That whetted our curiosity. So we decided to check in with the Inline Warehouse, one of the other big online merchants.
And there we found a similar story.
Stan Chaves, the owner of the Inline Warehouse, didn't divulge exact numbers. But he said skate sales have been climbing steadily in recent months.
"We are very pleased and excited with the way the industry is treating us," he said.
Aggressive skates are still Chaves' top sellers. But hockey skates are catching up, and fitness skate sales are growing at a fast clip.
Chaves attributes the spurt in fitness skates to the introduction of Big Wheel models by companies, such as Rollerblade and K2.
The hottest Big Wheel skate so far is K2's Radical 100, Chaves said.
"People are lining up in anticipation to get that skate."
Stan had plenty more to say, so rather than paraphrase (and given that I'm sick today and should be in bed) here's the interview, which was conducted via email:
(Oh, and thanks, Stan!)
Robert: How are skate sales these days at the Inline Warehouse?
Stan: We've experienced steady growth month after month as compared to the same months last year. Without going into percentages, let me say that we are very pleased and excited with how the industry is treating us.
We believe that making our online ordering process as easy as possible, providing tracking information on all orders automatically, as well as being open 7 days a week (in case a customer would rather talk to a human), contributes to our success.
We have a high volume of repeat business and the word is spreading fast. We expect to continue the high rate of growth and with the operation we have, we are confident that our high level of customer service will not suffer.
Robert: What kind of skates do you sell the most?
Fortunately, all across the board we are seeing continual growth. Aggressive skating has traditionally been our largest market, with hockey second and fitness third. Hockey is gaining ground quickly and may be our leader by year's end.
Copyright © 2006 by Robert Burnson
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