VAN NUYS, CA (BRAIN)—Daily order writing and OEM business for Easton Bell Sports’ cycling brands is starting to pick up after a challenging 2009, Paul Harrington, chief executive officer of Easton Bell Sports, said on Monday.
“We’ve seen an increase, but I still believe that [manufacturers] are adjusting their inventory and in some cases pushing back the purchases because they’re doing a lot of just-in-time with their retailers. We’ve seen some positive trends but not significant. We’re concentrating on the aftermarket business and working with our independent retailers to drive the sales on new product offerings,” Harrington said during a conference call to discuss Easton Bell Sports first quarter earnings.
Revenue in Easton Bell Sports Action Sports division, which includes its bike business through the Easton, Bell, Giro and Blackburn brands, dipped 3.1 percent, or $2.4 million, during the first quarter as helmet and accessory sales in the specialty cycling channel slowed.
Some of that decline was offset by growth in sales of snowsports helmets, licensed cycling helmets and accessories and fitness products in the mass-market channel.
One bright spot was Easton’s wheels, which saw double-digit growth in the first quarter, balanced evenly between the road and mountain categories in both aluminum and composite models, Harrington said. Most of the growth occurred with the EA 90 SLX and EC90 SL road wheels and the Haven mountain bike wheel.
Sales of Blackburn’s Flea commuter light also performed well.
The company is launching several new products for 2011, which are expected to help spark further business. The new Giro Rascal features the one step fit system with built-in lights modeled from Giro’s successful True Fit system launched last year.
Companywide, Easton Bell’s net sales were up 5 percent for the first quarter representing a return to sales growth for the first time in a year.