Close out for Cult Industries

Written on the 5 March 2009

 

SURF label Cult Industries is the latest to be dumped by the global credit tsunami with founder Doug Spong putting the Gold Coast headquarters up for sale.
The brand is reconsolidating in the wake of dwindling national sales and downsizing its operations to include a handful of smaller national retail outlets.
A joint leasing campaign has been launched by PRDColliers and CBRE after the 9357sq m Burleigh property failed to sell last year via an expression of interest campaign.
Mark Witheriff, of CB Richard Ellis, says the company no longer required a distribution centre that forms a major part of the headquarters building.
“The offshore manufacturers who make products for Cult are now shipping those products direct to Cult customers hence the West Burleigh distribution centre has become far too large for Cult’s requirements,” says Witheriff.
The distinctive building, which is split-level and exhibits Balinese influences, includes 3800sqm of free-span warehousing, complete with loading docks. There is also 750sqm of office space, a 700sqm retail area, a 1380sqm manufacturing floor, and parking for 179 cars.
Cult HQ was purpose-built for the eight-year-old company and opened in early 2006.
Spong has been in the surf hardware industry for almost 40 years. His career began in the early 1970s when he started importing a range of handicraft products from Bali and India.
In the late 70s wetsuit manufacturer Rip Curl employed Spong to run a new clothing and accessories division. He soon became an identity in the industry, respected for his ability to design and source products and the Rip Curl label was expanded into the US and Europe.
In 1987 Billabong founder Gordon Merchant offered Spong a licensing agreement to expand the company’s product range and Billabong accessories, such as bags, wallets, wetsuits, sweaters and ski-wear were introduced.
His operating company, Thin Air, was bought out by Billabong in 2000 in the lead-up to the Billabong public float. He quickly bought two small surf-industry labels and went on to group them under the Cult Industries banner.
In the same year (2001), Spong paid $1.21 million for the Cult HQ at 225 Burleigh Connection Road. Ironically, the companies that he helped expand (Billabong; Rip Curl) neighbour the Cult site and are the brand’s main competitors.  

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