My Euro Trip & Its Flagship Stores

Walking around Hossegor is always a quick adventure. Everybody is hanging out at the brasserie, drinking their coffee and smoking a ciggie. What striked me most though, is the number of action sports flagship stores in this tiny town. They are countless, and are even more numerous compared to my last year’s trip to the Landes. Huntington is nothing compared to Hossegor. You can find all the brands here: Quik, Billabong, O’Neill, Rip Curl, Pull In, Kanabeach, Banana Moon, DC, Volcom, Globe, Oxbow, Insight, you name it. Even my American buddy that works at ASG asked me where the moms and pops stores were at. And all I couldanswer was “somewhere we’ll never notice them”.

So, why so many of them? And why have a flagship store in such a satured area? Well, all this comes back to reminding you the purpose of flagship stores. The concept of flagship stores started with the idea of penetrating higher income markets. As Wikipedia explains it, “Flagship stores are main stores from retailers designed to serve a mainstream of customers. Most noticeably, flagships are found in prominent shopping districts that are targets for a main set of worldwide high-income shoppers. Because of this, shopping at an upscale flagship is seen as high social/economic status. […] These stores become a more preferred shopping destination for the retailers’ goods. Flagships are meant to overshadow its sister stores in its area.”

With this in mind, you can better understand why so many of them in such a touristic, expensive place like Hossegor. The place is jammed packed with wealthy people from around the world in the Summer time. These tourists want to live by the lifestyle of the French West Coast, which basically comes down to the lifestyle of surfing. As a part of their vacation, you might see them take a few surf lessons, but most importantly, you will see them going nuts over shopping. And what a better place than Hossegor, the French meka of surfing, to showcase your full product line in the most controlled environment. Flagship stores are a full representation of what a brand is all about and for all these reasons, they have to be present in a surf town like Hossegor, therefore leaving barely any room for moms and pop retailers to get noticed.

~CG

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