Letters to Scott dealers today landed on doormats all over the UK.
Ian Hughes, Scott's general manager, was "delighted" to be starting a "new partnership" with what many IBDs believe to be the spawn of the devil but which, in fact, could be considered a major engine for growth in the UK bike trade. It advertises cycling on the telly and in national newspapers, one of the few players in the bike trade to do so.
The full text of the letter from Hughes can be found below, as well as a press release. A statement from Halfords is also below.
SCOTT SPORTS (GREAT BRITAIN) AND HALFORDS BIKEHUT.
After carefully listening to the Halfords Bikehut team’s medium and long term plans, I have decided to accept an invitation to supply a New Concept Halfords Bikehut store in Burton on Trent for their opening on April 11th 2003. This was a decision reached with my team after giving the matter considerable thought. For 2004 model year the plan is to roll out another 10 to 12 New Concept Halfords Bikehut stores. Our brand will only be located at stores in areas that are complementary to our existing Dealer Network. I can personally assure you that I have total control over which branches we position (geographically) our brand in these New Concept Stores. And whilst the old school bike trade believe that big brother is wishing to take over the whole bike market, this is not the case. Halfords Bikehut– as BicycleBusiness magazine has said on many occasions – is an engine for growth in the UK bike trade. It is dedicated to growing the whole market and Independent Bike Dealers can benefit from this. I am also very sure that by making this move towards bringing our brand to new bike customers who visit Halfords Bikehut, this will grow our brand overall, help increase awareness of the SCOTT brand, and bring further sales of SCOTT to your business. This is an already proven formula in other markets. With the bike trade being what it is, I’m also aware that there may be an emotional reaction from some sections of the trade regarding this announcement. I want to assure you that I do not wish to upset the work and relationship we have built over the past 9 years with you, our very important customers. I have control over the geographical locations of the New Format Bikehut stores that will be sensitive to our existing customer base. It is Halfords Bikehut wish to form a partnership with SCOTT, and it is in its interest to grow the total market alongside Independent Bike Dealers.
If you feel you would like to discuss this matter in any more detail, please call me.
SCOTT Sports Ltd. (Great Britain) PRESS RELEASE
Halfords Bikehut and SCOTT Sports Ltd (Great Britain) are delighted to announce the start of a new partnership beginning with a New Concept Halfords Bikehut Store in Burton on Trent. Ian Hughes, General manager of SCOTT Sports Ltd (Great Britain) said "After carefully listening to Halfords Bikehut medium and long term plans and giving the matter considerable thought and discussions with my team, I have decided to accept an invitation to supply a New Concept Halfords Bikehut store in for their opening on April 11th 2003. After monitoring the success of this New Concept Store, the plan is to roll out another 10 to 12 New Concept Halfords Bikehut Stores in 2004 model year that are located in areas complimentary to our existing Dealer Network.” Hughes went on to say "I want to assure you that I do not wish to upset the work and relationship we have built over the past 9 years with our very important Independent Bike Dealer network. As a partner of Halfords Bikehut we will select together the geographical locations of the New Format Bikehut stores. It is Halfords Bikehut wishes to form a partnership with SCOTT, and it is in their interest to grow the total market alongside Independent Bike Dealers." Ian Hughes also commented "I am sure that by making this move towards bringing our brand to new bike customers who visit Halfords Bikehut, this will grow our brand overall, help increase awareness of our SCOTT brand, and bring further sales of SCOTT to our existing Dealer network."
STATEMENT FROM HALFORDS Steve Lowe, category manager for cycling at Halfords, said: "Halfords is constantly striving to improve its customer offer in order to meet the demands of the market and the new concept store is testament to this. We are delighted that SCOTT has entered into a partnership with Halfords and feel that the brand brings further credibility and an exciting new dimension to our existing portfolio of bikes and accessories.
“We are confident that SCOTT will prove extremely successful in the concept store and we are looking forward, with SCOTT, to replicating this success in the future."