2020 was undoubtedly an unorthodox year, with independents, brands and distributors alike feeling the inevitable effects of a turbulent period for businesses the world over. BikeBiz caught up with seven UK distributors to reflect on a bizarre yet successful period for the cycling industry.
Today, we hear from Simon Ford, sales director at Extra UK
It has been a rollercoaster of a year, from cancelled orders in April, to dealing with panic buying throughout the summer. COVID-19 presented significant operational challenges for the warehouse team, procurement and product planning but we have constantly adapted and improved, and I think as a business we have become stronger.
2020 has given us growth we would not have believed a year ago for which we are truly grateful, although our thoughts are of course still with industries and people less fortunate than ours who are really struggling.
Behind the scenes
We have seen particularly noteworthy growth of brands such as Topeak, ABUS, Pirelli, FFWD and RRP and across our portfolio things are very positive. Looking into 2021, we do not foresee this growth stalling, instead concerns are with global stock availability as lead times are extending, making product planning very difficult. We have always stocked in-depth but have, with confidence, gone even deeper for 2021 across all our brands.
In 2021, Extra will open an office in Dublin and has just appointed our first employee there, John Mahon, as our full-time Republic of Ireland area sales manager. We have seen a 300% growth in Ireland, plus with the expected challenges following Brexit, the time is right to have a dedicated service there. John will be looking to increase the presence of all our brands and in particular work with IBDs on store displays and best range planning. John can be contacted via firstname.lastname@example.org.
In terms of our brand portfolio, the workshop, service and consumables categories are areas that we are looking to increase our presence in and follow our success with brands like Enduro Bearings, Orange Seal, Squirt and Cane Creek.
Whilst our portfolio is almost comprehensive across all categories, we are always on the lookout for future opportunities and are very aware of growing markets in e-bikes, scooters and indoor trainers. We believe it must be the right brand and add value to the company, we do not want to dilute our offering as a distributor by collecting brands.
For 2021, we have two new brands to add to our portfolio. From December, we will be the exclusive UK distributor of Capgo Cable Systems. While Capgo is new to the UK, it’s well established in Europe for both workshop and aftermarket cable products. Being based and manufactured in Germany, Capgo features as OEM on Canyon, CUBE and Bianchi, among others, and offers a wide range of unique products including coloured outer casings and internal frame noise protection.
We will be announcing our second new brand in February, so we cannot go into further detail at this point, but we believe it will be a great addition to our portfolio, especially in our previously mentioned focus in workshop and consumables. Watch this space!
2021 and beyond
The Extra team is disappointed not to be getting together with the trade in January due to the cancellation of COREbike, as that’s normally our kickstart to the year and a great way to showcase our amazing team, brands and representatives.
Hopefully we can attend some events again in 2021, like most, we really miss the social contact. We are fortunate to work in an amazing industry with so many great people.