DEER VALLEY, UT (BRAIN) — Accell North America kicked off three days of presentations and bicycle rides Tuesday night with a reception at a ski-slope restaurant in Deer Valley.
Steve Meineke, Accell’s chief operating officer, said with Accell’s purchase of Seattle Bike Supply, Raleigh and Diamondback, and Currie Technologies, the combined strength of a unified company will give it greater scale to compete in a tough market.
“There is focus and leadership that’s now in place,” he said, referring to the combined operations of the company including Raleigh’s operations in Canada.
And sometime in November SBS will have new business offices adjacent to the current Raleigh complex, although its warehouse will remain at its current location in Kent, Washington.
As for attending dealers, they plan to begin a full day of meetings with a 5:45 a.m. ride — a 20-mile loop that starts in Deer Valley, rolls through Park City, and loops back to the start.
But the fun ends at 8:30 a.m. and the work begins. A series of presentations will introduce 42 dealers and their staff to Accell’s complete line of brands — Raleigh, Diamondback, Lapierre, Redline, Torker and Currie Technologies eFlow and IZIP e-bikes.
In addition, dealers can test ride a high-performance German mountain bike powered by a Bosch electric motor. This is the first time that Haibikes have been available for dealers to see and ride in the U.S., said Larry Pizzi, Currie’s president.
Haibike, one of Europe’s premier brand of conventional and power-assisted bikes, is part of the Winora Group, also owned by Accell NV. Both hardtail and full suspension models will be available in 2014.
"The trails around Deer Valley are varied and beautiful, and we'll have several models ready to ride and plenty of charged batteries on hand for the next person in line,” Pizzi said.
Despite Tuesday night festivities, industry sales have been weak and inventory levels remain high. Jeff Latimer, owner of Gus’s Bikes in North Hampton, New Hampshire, said wet weather has taken its toll on sales this season.
Chris Speyer, Accell’s chief operating officer, at an earlier meeting with 21 Taiwanese vendors, said this “has been one of the most difficult years we’ve ever seen in the U.S. market.”
Speyer added that no company has been immune to the downturn in sales and higher than planned inventory. “We are going to discount as an industry,” he added.
As for the many Taiwan-based vendors that make up the backbone of today’s IBD brand bikes, they experiencing delays in orders, canceled orders or pushback on delivery schedules
Nonetheless, Speyer pointed out, that in a $6.6 billion industry independent dealers own the lion’s share of the market accounting for about $3.5 billion in sales. Mass merchants control about $2.45 billion and sporting goods and Internet sales account for another $850 million.
Still, the industry remains flat and unit numbers are sobering. Over the last six years there has been no growth in unit sales at around 2.5 million units or so a year. The good news is that there has been a 41 percent growth in the dollar value of those sales.