Some Halfords managers have told their staff they might soon be getting Trek. Reps of rival brands have delighted in telling their IBD customers the same story.
But it has no foundation in fact, Nick Fish told BikeBiz yesterday.
We strongly believe in business partnerships and were not about to sign with Bikehut. If any Trek dealer has any concerns about this they should ring me. I would urge them not to believe rumours.
Chris Carter, manager of the two wheel division at Halfords, was surprised Halfords managers were keeping the Trek rumours alive.
Id like to scotch the rumours, he told BikeBiz. Its no secret weve been in regular contact with a number of American brands but Im the person who would know if we were about to sign any new brands, and were not. If any Halfords managers are telling their staff that were about to sign Trek, its a case of people wanting something to happen that is being wrongly taken by others as something that is going to happen.
Halfords has been courting the big name US brands for some years. Their poaching investment was ramped up last year when a US-format video was produced which extoled the benefits of taking the Halfords leap of faith. It was distributed to the top execs of the key American bike brands in an attempt to bypass the execs in the UK who have so far rebuffed every Halfords approach.
But the £17m rollout of Halfords arcade approach 100 Bikehuts will be up and running by next Spring means that Halfords wont take no for an answer and rumours about Trek (or Cannondale, Kona, Specialized or Scott) moving into Bikehut are unlikely to go away. In fact, it will continue to be a key bogeyman story that reps on the road will use to discredit their opposition.
Looks like Nick Fish is going to be on the phone a lot.
And Trek is in a difficult position as are the other brands. None of them are going to say they will never get into bed with Bikehut they probably enjoy the wooing too much but if they came out with a statement saying they have no plans to stock into Halfords within the next 12 months that would be read as an admission they might defect at any time after that.
So, the guessing game continues, the rumour mill keeps churning and the widest smiles in the bike trade are on the faces of the Stanforth brothers. Saracen manages to be big in Halfords and big in IBDs too. Thats a trick the next US brand or brands that defect to Bikehut will not be able to pull off in a hurry.