Marquee Brands LLC, which runs Bruno Magli, Ben Sherman, Body Glove, BCBGMAXAZRIA and BCBGeneration, on Wednesday further expanded its portfolio with the acquisition of outdoor brand Dakine and its intellectual property. Dakine CEO Ken Meidell will join Marquee Brands as well, according to a company press release.
The brand licensing and development company also entered into a long-term license agreement with JR286, a design, manufacturing and distribution company specializing in sporting goods, which has acquired Dakine's operating assets and will serve as Marquee's long-term operating partner for the brand.
Founded in Maui in 1979 with a surfboard ankle leash, Dakine today is based in Hood River, Oregon, and Annecy, France, and generates an equal amount of sales from North America and Europe, according to the release. The companies said they will maintain dedicated Dakine teams in Hood River, Los Angeles and Annecy.
Dakine boasts that it "builds backpacks, travel bags, accessories, outerwear and clothing for people who love to surf, snowboard, skateboard, mountain bike, ski, windsurf, kiteboard and travel." That emphasis on accessories, lifestyle and travel lines up with what market research company The NPD Group has found to be the strongest suits in outerwear retail.
Thanks to a rise in bag sales fueled in part by the surge in popularity of fanny packs, outdoor accessories in the 12 months ending in August grew at the fastest rate in the category; after declines last year, backpack sales grew 4%, duffel bags 6% and fanny/waist packs 52%, according to NPD.
Repped by the likes of slope-style freeskier Sammy Carlson, snowboarder Jill Perkins and freeride mountain bikers Graham Agassiz, Thomas Vanderham and Carson Storch, Dakine is the kind of niche brand that consumers are after these days. The category is poised to thrive, if brands figure out how to cater to baby boomers and millennials, who are both keen on experiences and travel, according to Matt Powell, vice president and senior industry adviser at The NPD Group.
"The outdoor industry has so far failed to fully leverage this interest in travel," he said in comments emailed to Retail Dive. "Millennials remain cash strapped, so they are looking for value and versatility. The outdoor industry remains too focused on pinnacle products and is leaving money on the table. … Both Millennials and Gen Z consumers are supporters of sustainability, and the outdoor industry must raise the bar on speaking forcefully to these issues."
The industry would also do well to cater more to female and Hispanic enthusiasts, who are largely being ignored. "The women's market is our greatest failure, yet our great opportunity," he said.
Dakine's new owners appear to be aware of its runway for growth. Dakine is "ripe with untapped growth potential," Zachary Sigel, managing director of Neuberger Berman, Marquee's private equity sponsor, said in a statement. Tapping that will involve "intensify[ing] Dakine's focus on producing high quality products for its snow, surf and bike customers while also pushing the brand to explore exciting and uncharted waters," according to a statement from Marquee Brands President Michael DeVirgilio.