New Era Cap President Talks Company's Future, Expansion, NFL Contract
New Era Cap President Peter Augustine in a recent interview with the BUFFALO NEWS’ David Robinson spoke about the company’s local operations in the city and its plans for the future. Below are excerpts from the Q&A:
Q: How is the cap business? I know it took quite a hit during the recession, especially with your small retailers.
Augustine: We’re starting to move in a better direction. With those small businesses, I think that’s probably created a permanent change in the landscape of retail that we’re dealing with. The bigger guys have gotten stronger, which is OK because we have good relationships with Lids, Champs Sports, Foot Locker -- these big national retailers -- as well as the strong regional guys like Hibbett Sports and Modell’s Sporting Goods here in the Northeast.
Q: What products are selling now?
Augustine: The big story in the head wear business is the snap-back, which is our 950 style. There’s a big retro style pointing back to the mid-’80s. That’s the old fashioned plastic strap back adjustable cap.
Q: Your NFL contract is on the verge of kicking in. What are your expectations there?
Augustine: We’ve got a good base of business booked for our first launch, which is going to be centered around the draft. … We’ll follow that up with product that’s focused on the training camps. Our big launch will be for the official on-field product that will hit in the August time frame, ahead of the regular season. We really feel we’re going to change the look and feel on the sidelines and bring some real authenticity there.
Q: What are your plans for your own retail stores?
Augustine: We’re looking to get more aggressive with New Era-specific retail. We’ve got 12 stores that are open right now. Five years ago, we opened our first flagship store in New York City. Last year, we added Tokyo, Hong Kong, Los Angeles and Chicago to the mix. What that allows us to do is basically allow us to tell the full New Era product story.
Q: Are you looking to add more stores?
Augustine: We have a plan, directionally, to get to 100 stores over the next five years, focused mainly on North America, but we do have activities going on in other international markets. We’re about to open a second store in London (BUFFALO NEWS, 2/19).