‘We always aim to provide our partners with everything they need to run a successful business’: ZyroFisher distributor focus

As the cycle industry tries to adapt to life after the pandemic, ZyroFisher CEO Rob Haycock tells BikeBiz about the latest developments at the Darlington-based distributor

This piece first appeared in the September edition of BikeBiz magazine – get your free subscription here

“An interesting start”, is how ZyroFisher CEO Rob Haycock described the first half of 2022. As the western world emerged from the coronavirus pandemic, the turmoil did not subside as the waves from the war in Ukraine and hints of an economic squeeze soon followed.

Following the unprecedented cycling boom sparked by coronavirus restrictions, bike sales have begun to slow in the consumer and leisure markets, leaving many in the industry questioning what impact the cost of living crisis will have on their businesses.

“The cycling industry has seen a boom during the pandemic,” said Haycock, “and as things return to ‘normal’, understandably not all retailers are as confident in the market.

“2022 had an interesting start. The first few months saw us with good stock on key brands like SRAM, Giro and Bell and this led to some strong performance. As the world has come to terms with the aggression in Ukraine and the consequent impact on the cost of living we have started to see the impact of this on the business.

“We do continue to see good sales though in both bikes and components, while areas like apparel and helmets are more challenged.”

View from the shop floor
The supply and demand issues in the bike industry are well documented, but we continued to see the fallout as bikes ordered months ago are now landing in the UK. Some bike brands are forcing retailers to take stock, Haycock said, while ZyroFisher’s brands, which include BMC, Ritchey, Niner and Time, generally deal in smaller quantities so are easier to consume by retailers.

On the shop floor, retailers are acting with a degree of caution in the Covid hangover period, Haycock added, while the electric-assisted market continues to provide opportunities in both the cargo and commuter sectors.

Haycock said: “We know that the consumption of the stock already in channel across all of our markets will continue to be a challenge, but we have been tracking data closely and have seen green shoots of recovery across different channels and in certain brands.

“We will continue to work with our partners to win the sales that are there, while not growing stocks unnecessarily. We all know that traditionally the bike market weathers a cost of living crisis better than some, and we hope that this continues. As businesses are now encouraging more staff to return to offices, we are hopeful that we will see a return in the commuter market which has been much quieter during the pandemic.

“With the much better weather experienced this summer this may act as a deterrent to return pre-pandemic habits of always holidaying abroad, especially with the environmental impact of this, and this should encourage more people to spend time in the UK and enjoy activities such as cycling here at home.”

The portfolio
ZyroFisher has also made a number of changes to its portfolio in 2022, adding motocross and mountain bike lifestyle brand Fasthouse, along with Stacyc electric bikes as part of the distributor’s expansion into ‘powersports’.

Alongside the new additions, ZyroFisher now represents CamelBak across all categories, including bike, outdoor, run, and lifestyle. Other recent additions to the portfolio include Unior, Maxima, Supercaz, and Ritchey.

Haycock said: “All of these brands bring exciting opportunities for us, both in terms of supporting these brands to reach their potential, but also in how the addition of these brands can provide our dealer base with credible brands to drive their business forward.”

On future plans for ZyroFisher, Haycock added: “Here at ZyroFisher we always aim to provide our partners with everything they need to run a successful business, so market-leading brands, great stocks, service and team support and this will always be our key focus. We will be reacting and adapting to the changing market dynamics and taking advantage of the strength in depth we have in our business to move forward.”

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