Success for today’s independent bicycle dealer (IBD) can be boiled down to one key capability: being able to offer consumers a remarkable buying experience. Helping to build on this, the recent announcements from Raleigh Canada and Lapierre North America signal a directional change for the two brands in the Canadian bicycle market.
Going forward, the Canadian IBD will have exclusive access to the Raleigh Bicycles brand as well as the premium European Lapierre road and mountain brand. Surrounding these iconic brands will be ‘top?tier service, strong margins and a flexible and efficient retail partnership model focused on growing the businesses of Canadian IBDs.’
The change in focus for Raleigh Canada is substantial and is the result of much investment and restructuring and the addition of new leadership.
- On 1 April, Raleigh Canada announced the hiring of Dave Taylor, who is leading the sales and marketing efforts for Canadian IBD’s going forward. Taylor joins the company from Cervélo, where he built strong relationships with IBDs in the Canadian market for the past six years.
- Two weeks later, Accell Group, Europe’s largest bicycle company and the parent company of both Raleigh and Lapierre, formed a new entity in Accell North America (ANA). The sole focus of ANA is to bring resources to power the proven approach of Accell Group Europe for the North American IBD network, thereby launching a new, multi-brand IBD partnership model.
Taylor is excited at the prospect of bringing two independent, complimentary specialty bicycle brands backed by the resources of ANA to his home market of Canada.
“In the six years I’ve been focused on growing the businesses of Canada’s IBD network, I’ve seen precipitous change in consumer buying habits,” he said. “IBDs that are not resourced to compete with large retail competitors and online storefronts are extremely challenged,”
Taylor added, “At the same time, IBDs need to offer choice and authenticity in their assortments and often that comes from under-resourced, independent brands. We believe the Raleigh and Lapierre multi-brand IBD opportunity is the best way to deliver loyal customers to IBDs today in the Canadian market.”
Raleigh Bicycles is a well regarded brand in the Canadian market with ‘tremendous potential for specialty shops.’ Raleigh’s award-winning bicycle assortment is successfully growing consumer categories and tapping into the event rider, the bicycle commuter and of the active cycling family, respectively. This has resulted in ‘Raleigh becoming the fastest growing brand in the US IBD market.’
The intention of the new direction for Raleigh Canada and Lapierre North America is to achieve the same success for Canadian IBDs. The newly formed Lapierre North America offers a platform for growth and success for the boutique Lapierre road, mountain and time-trial bicycle collection.
Realignment in Canada
In January 2013, Accell Group NV confirmed that its subsidiary Raleigh Canada will cease the bicycle manufacturing and assembly activity of its Waterloo, Québec, facility in 2013. The facility will continue to support Raleigh Canada’s presence in the Canadian market as a distribution and service fulfilment centre.
According to Accell Group, which acquired Raleigh in 2012, continuation of manufacturing and assembly activity in Waterloo was no longer economically viable. The heightened focus on IBDs in Canada sees Accell, via Raleigh and Lapierre, take an entirely new approach to the Canadian market.
Lapierre, founded in 1946 in Dijon, France, offers a high?end, performance driven road, mountain bike and time-trial collection. Lapierre bicycles are seen as being highly complementary to the Raleigh Bicycle collection. For more information on becoming a Raleigh Canada or Lapierre North America independent bicycle dealer, interested parties can contact Dave Taylor: dtaylor[at]raleigh-canada.ca.
More details of Raleigh Canada, Lapierre North America and ANA will be unveiled in June and at DealerCamp in July of this year.
Accell North America is the North American business entity of Accell Group NV, Europe’s leading bicycle company. Accell North America, located in Kent, Washington, is completely ‘focused on growing the specialty bike business by providing excellence in customer service, product innovation, profitability and brand marketing on the regional and national level.’