I loaded some Heelys HLYS stocks at its IPO yesterday: pulled the trigger a little early and I am under water for now. Since I can’t do anything about the day to day stock price, I decided to check out it in the real world…Please note this is by no means a substitute for the fundamental or financial analysis of the company, this is just my informal reality check of heelys in the market place.
I visited some retail stores which carries Heelys in the area. Here is what I found:
1) Sports Authority: I visited three stores, one in Brentwood, one in St. Charle Rock Road, and last one at Ballwin. They all put the Heelys in the main aisle; but they don’t have a nice display like Nordstrom’s. I saw some action about Heelys: one customer exchanged her son/daughter’s shoes at the Brentwood store. SA sells about 11% of heelys in US domestic market (from its S1).
2) Nordstrom: St. Louis only Nordstrom is at West County mall, it has a good display for the product, although not extensive. As I mentioned before I happened to see a customer buying a pair for her grandson. I noticed the Nordstrom did not offer as many styles as Sports Authority, and they don’t have any discount (SA gives 10$ off for a few products).
3) Dick’s Sporting Good: this is a big outdoor sports gear store. But it has a small display like Nordstrom. Not very impressive.
4) Finish Line and Journeys. The former is a sports shoes store, the latter kids/teenager shoes store. I am impressed by Finished Line’s display (see the photo below). But from S1 we know Journeys sell 11.6% which is even higher than SA. This is the first time I went to the Journeys, it seems a very popular place. I saw the Converse shoes, which sponsors Dwyane Wade. One of my coworker told me his son likes his Converse all-star shoes very much (it costs more than 100, although it’s not good for his foot), and eventually he hurt his foot by wearing them. I think that’s a typical phenomena in American teen’s spending: fashion is much more important than substance.
I still have not seen kids skating in the malls or streets, according to its road show presentation, I heard it just started getting into midwest market. From Heelys web site I saw they have a demo team and here are their calendar. It seems to me their focus is the two coasts (east and west), and southwest for now. Like many other things, the trend starts from California or NY 🙂
I also searched “heelys” at flickr and found there are 70 pictures. Some are pretty cool.
(Update 11Dec06) I went to Galleria on Sunday. Besides Journeys, I found Kids Footlocker also has Heelys. I went to Chesterfield Mall this evening, both Journeys and Finishline have Heelys, again Finishline puts the Heelys in a more obvious location.