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Hawley-Lambert buys Seattle Bike Supply as consolidation moves through industry

Published March 31, 2016

LEVIS, Quebec (BRAIN) — Hawley-Lambert North America has bought the inventory, including proprietary brands, once distributed by Seattle Bike Supply. The purchase of SBS’ inventory from Accell North America adds 14 new brands to the distributor’s portfolio and points to the ongoing consolidation of various segments of the industry.

Sylvain Caya, Hawley-Lambert’s president, said in an interview that market consolidation is a growing factor in the industry. “We’ve seen, especially in distribution, that the volume (of SKUs) matters, that the strategy of managing more exclusive brands, and expanding the number of distribution centers is driving it.”

Caya declined to put a price tag on the sale, but said he and Accell executives had been in discussions since last fall over the sale. “It’s been a long discussion, but we finally got there. It’s been a very friendly discussion so now we can move on to execution,” Caya added. 

Hawley-Lambert currently has three distribution centers — Lexington, South Carolina; Reno, Nevada; and Levis, Quebec — and will soon open a fourth center, in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania. The company currently has 30 sales reps in Canada and 40 in the U.S. Overall the company employs about 250 people.

The four centers will provide next-day delivery to retailers in most regions of North America. Dealers who stock Accell-distributed brands like XLC, Tioga, Pryme, Basil, Alienation as well as Torker parts and accessories can order them from Hawley-Lambert starting May 1. 

The distributor also picks up distribution of Box, Chromag, Clement, CST, Renthal, Skyway, Spank and Strider as part of the deal. In the meantime, SBS will continue to sell through its stock of national brands that both carry, like SRAM parts, before officially closing its doors. 

SBS ended its relationship with Shimano last November, but Lambert distributes Shimano in Canada. Caya said he hopes to have discussions with Shimano about adding its parts to its U.S. distribution network.

“Our goal is to make this transition as smooth as possible. Our reps will work closely with reps from Accell to limit service interruptions and to transfer relevant account information,” Caya said.

Chris Speyer, Accell North America’s managing director, said the sale allows the company — a division of Accell Group NV with corporate offices in Heerenveen, Netherlands — to focus on its core brands: Raleigh, Diamondback, Redline and I-Zip electric bikes. 

“This is really the sustainable core of our business,” Speyer said. “I am confident that Hawley-Lambert is the right choice to support SBS dealers and will be a great partner to those dealers who have supported us,” he added.

Accell bought SBS, a privately held company with offices in Kent, Washington, in February 2006. At one point SBS had distribution centers in four locations and reported revenues of more than $36 million. Accell later bought Currie Technologies e-bike line in December 2011. And in April 2012, Accell bought Raleigh Cycle Ltd., which included the Raleigh brand in the U.S and Canadian markets.

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