Netherlands-based Susie Weaver, Manager, European Sales & Marketing for WTB, would not be drawn on the reasons for WTB terminating Concepts distribution rights but had much to say about the UK market in general.
The UK MTB market for parts and accessories is mature and very
competitive. Dealers are choosing to work with fewer distributors to
consolidate their supplier base. There is a lot of grey market activity
and heavy discounting through mail order companies which seriously affects long term profitability of all channels, Weaver told BikeBiz.
Despite the market challenges, WTB's UK reputation and demand is still very favourable and strong. The market (both shops and consumers) need to be educated about WTB because the range of products has not been well represented in the last few years.
The immediate plans are to reintroduce WTB to the UK market as an
innovative, premium brand that delivers a focused product range at
various performance and price points. The market views WTB as the "VelociRaptor guys" but may not know about our range of saddles, brake pads, headsets, etc. They also know us as the "parts you would love to have if you could afford it" guys. While WTB does still have top shelf, high price point product that defines the top of the range in each product category, we also have lower price points in each product category to address a variety of consumer budgets and preferences.
The new distributor will be announced this week, says Weaver.
I will try to coordinate an inventory transfer between AXCS and
the new distributor although I suspect AXCS will blow out their remaining
inventory in which case the new distributor will have their first inventory available early October.
There will be a full and frank interview with Robert Pollard of Concept in our August issue, snippets of which will appear on this website this week.