Brooks, the leather saddle maker, was bought in July 2002 by Selle Royal of Italy. Since then Brooks has operated sales and marketing from the UK. However, the Italian company has now taken the roles in-house, leading to UK redundancies.

Sales and marketing for Brooks moves to Italy

Among those made redundant was Andrew Hunter, the sales and marketing manager.

He told "I have met some great people within the trade and amongst you all I have felt very much at home."

Brooks was founded in Birmingham in 1866 by John Boultbee Brooks. It has an annual turnover of £1m and 22 employees produce 80 000 leather saddles a year.

Italy-based Andrea Meneghelli of Selle Royal, said:

"I’ve been working for Selle Royal for seven years and have been involved with Brooks England since the very first days after the take over of the company. I have done most of the marketing and communication materials and activities for Brooks with the English assistance of Andrew for the last two years and it seams the first results are coming: growing sales and growing interest for new "old" products.

"Brooks production remains in England. I’m just the marketing manager, but I know Selle Royal can’t be compared to the Chinese car company who took over Rover. Firstly because if Brooks has to be compared to an English car brand it should be Rolls Royce. Secondly because Selle Royal is not a Chinese company and we could also suffer the Chinese competition if we don’t keep our products, quality and name high (including that of Brooks, which is probably the most valuable). Thirdly because Brooks does not have any real competitor and can rely on the passion of dealers and fans.

"We hope that with the passionate help of our faithful dealers we can grow interest in Brooks outstanding products."

In response to concerns expressed on the bulletin board, Meneghelli said:

"[IBDs] should not be threatened by the "coming soon" online shop for at least many reasons:

1- because the shop’s function will be that of giving a service to people in areas of the globe where there are no Brooks retailers

2-we will not promote the online shop specifically

3-the prices on our shop on line will be higher of the suggested retail price

4-from our experience with the Fizik shop online, direct sales are very very slow (less than 0,5 % of our yearly after market sales), so they don’t damage the business of our retailers which keeps growing."

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