On yesterday's site, Stephen Thomas, ex of Bikeforce, now of Euretco's Profile, the Dutch retail services organisation, reckoned Profile and the ACT could work together. Not so, says the ACT in a typically bullish statement.

ACT spurns Euretco

"Euretco Tweewielers is a for-profit organisation, focused upon challenging the established relationship between UK suppliers & IBDs, rather than working together to create even greater efficiencies," said a statement from the ACT.

"Euretco does not embrace all IBDs, but wants to develop a separate chain of 270 outlets."

The ACT, on the other hand, represents the interests of the 2500 independent retailers that make up the IBD sector, continued the statement.

"Over the last decade these dealers have been too often been let down and distracted from their own independent development by buying groups, franchises and dealer organisations of every shape and size. All the promises have proven hollow and in some cases to the terminal detriment of individual IBDs."

The ACT statement claims that "leading distributors in the UK and Ireland" are as critical of Euretco’s plans as the ACT itself. Euretco would "poach business and jobs from our home market."

The ACT statement continues: "Over the past decade suppliers have invested materially in improved inventory and services to UK and Irish IBDs. It is not perfect, but most independents can relate how much dealer margins and overall service have improved. The main challenges for IBDs remain as staffing, overheads and ever-increasing legislation demands.

"If we direct more buying to new market entrants we run the risk of driving established suppliers towards corporate retailers, diluting the overall value of brands we hold as precious.

"What happens when UK distributors don’t play ball, grey market supplies undermining our established brand distribution structure? It took years to educate dealers that the ‘van boy’ route via the Netherlands was unviable and unnecessary; surely this is not the way forward?

"Suppliers complain about the incompatibility of European marketing with the UK consumer market – preferring the US approach more suited to our consumers, yet Euretco is a ‘marketing organisation’, a very subjective area of business and an easy route to spend money without proven returns."

The ACT statement pulls no punches:

"Euretco’s business model is central financial management so let us all be clear how this works and the implications of financial failure. A buying group building their own chain under their own Profile identity? C’mon, Stephen, what better way to recruit than respond and tell all IBDs and suppliers about this win win formula!"

ACT president David Wilsher said:

"What we want to see this time is total transparency of offering. If Profile is truly the saviour of IBDs we would have expected to have been approached for an early endorsement. The ACT remains sceptical of all such projects."

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