Koala Bay also seeks the winter sun

  • The brand, focused so far on the summer season, will sell its garments throughout the year and will close the year with 41 stores

From the beach to the city center, and from being a brand focused exclusively on the summer season to being able to sell its garments throughout the year. That is the path that the Koala Bay chain of clothing and accessories stores in Alicante has decided to undertake, which has dressed influencers such as Paula Echevarría or Rocío Camacho and who, far from being intimidated by the consequences that the pandemic has had in the commercial sector , has decided to embark on a major expansion plan, with which it intends to open eight to ten new physical stores each year, convinced that they are the best showcase for their collections and also to boost their online sales.

The history of the brand started when its current CEO, Thomas Garcia, made a trip to Australia. “I have always liked fashion and I have always had a lot of connection with it because of the family business (a company dedicated to the production of components and accessories for footwear and textiles). I had been thinking about creating my own brand for a long time, and lifestyle and the spirit of adventure that I saw there gave me inspiration “, explains the executive.

It was 2006 and, how could it be otherwise, the first thing they launched was a collection of sandals, to which little by little they were incorporating new garments, such as swimsuits or t-shirts. Some garments that were well received, especially in the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands and the Mediterranean coast, and that they also managed to distribute in Italy, France, Portugal or Greece, among other countries.

Thus, the collection grew until, in 2013, they decided to open their first store in Benidorm to the public, more for an image issue – “to show the brand’s ‘total look'”, according to its creator, than for business . The results surprised those in charge of the firm, since its casual fashion style and with a clear summer vocation -the motto of the firm is’ Life is a Holiday’- they found their best audience in the tourist capital of the Costa Blanca.

Success led them to repeat the formula and that is how they began to open establishments throughout the Spanish Mediterranean and the Canary Islands, always in clearly holiday enclaves. In fact, until now the company only produced clothes and accessories for the summer season and closed most of its stores in the winter months, with the exception of those it has in the Canary archipelago.

In full covid, the firm decided to maintain its bet and continued with the pace of openings it had planned. Thus, last year they opened eight new stores and this year they have already added as many, until completing a network of 39 stores, which before the end of the year will become 41, according to the executive.

The coastal areas continue to be its main objective, but the company wants to take the leap and rub shoulders with the big names in the sector throughout Spain, which is why it has opened its radius of action. Thus, the company is already present in some shopping centers and Thomas Garcia points out that they are in full search and selection of premises with the aim of starting their implementation in large cities throughout the country.

A process for which, logically, they have also had to change their collections strategy to be able to operate throughout the year. In this way, Koala Bay has launched its first collection of winter garments this year, which will allow them to keep 80% of its stores open next season, in which they expect to increase their turnover by around 30%, according to the executive.

The openings have allowed it to create 65 new jobs, and the workforce already reaches 270 people

García assures that it has not been difficult for them to transfer the fresh and carefree style of their clothes to colder weather conditions, although he acknowledges that they are garments designed for “warm winters, like the ones we have in the Mediterranean.”

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The design and pattern of all its collections is carried out from the company’s headquarters in the Alicante municipality of Crevillent, but production is outsourced to third parties in Spain, Portugal and Southeast Asia. With the pandemic they have chosen to review their supply channels to avoid the transport problems and delays that have occurred. “We have increased production in Spain and Portugal and we have looked for new suppliers in Morocco and Turkey,” explains García.

The openings policy has allowed it to create 65 new direct jobs this year, thus the company’s total workforce already amounts to 270 people. And its founder is convinced that this is only the beginning. Despite the fact that its expansion is mainly on the ground, from the firm, in fact, they assure that their bet is omni-channel, and that the physical stores and the online route complement each other.


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