Specialized rules out lavishing on operations such as the purchase of Kbike

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Under the Kbike banner, three stores operated with a combined surface area of ​​1,200 square meters and 14 employees.

(1-6-2022). The purchase made by Specialized of the three Kbike stores, self-defined by its head, David Díaz, as ‘Specialized Brand Store’, has accentuated the role of the American brand within cycling retail. After the concern raised by the brand as a result of its ‘Specialized Owned Retail’ program (Specialized own stores), brand sources assure that “we do not have an overwhelming plan”.

From Specialized Iberia they assure that “we do not want to scare people. We intend to give peace of mind to the retailer”. However, in the ensign they recognize that “everyone looks at us”.

After the launch of its portfolio of formulas for direct sales to the consumer through the Internet at the beginning of the year, in recent days the leading role of the North American brand has acquired greater vigor as a result of the development on an international scale of its ‘Specialized Owned Retail’ (Specialized own stores). An outline of this has been exemplified in Spain with the news that the brand has acquired the three stores of the Kbike chain, led by David Díaz, located in Madrid, Colmenar Viejo and San Sebastián de los Reyes, and that last year they invoiced around 4 million euros and that for this 2022 they focused on five million.

21 STORES

Of the 21 stores that currently appear on the website of the North American label as ‘Specialized Brand Store’ in Spain, to date, only four of them are owned by Specialized. To the three of Kbike recently acquired without the amount of the operation having transpired, it is worth adding another that was already owned by the brand before said operation: Bike 101.

The other 17 establishments correspond to points of sale governed by a partnership between twelve retailers and the brand.

Kibike, in any case, was the account that until now, with its three points of sale, accounted for the most doors of the brand. Other relevant accounts (with two doors, respectively) are: Fernando Torres Probike, The Cyclery, Bike GC and Master Bike.

“STRATEGIC AND VERY MEASURED” PLAN

But from the Iberian subsidiary of Specialized they underline their messages of “tranquility to the sector”. The brand has some two hundred client stores in Spain and they assure that in their minds “starting an offensive of replicas of the operation carried out with Kbike” does not figure at all.

They add that “our plan is strategic, very measured and with a step-by-step development”. They also stress that “there is no overwhelming or overwhelming plan.”

From Specialized Iberia, their sources assure that their objective is “to provide the best service to the cyclist and to work in the best way with our retail clients so that all parties benefit.”

After that, they point out that “by strengthening our work with retailers, we intend to better understand the market, share experiences, empathize more between both parties, and generate a positive environment that adds value to the brand and to all of us who work with it.”

On the other hand, in a brand statement, it points out that the changes that have occurred in the world in the last two years have modified the forms of consumption. Regarding the demand of the sector, he affirms that “we are living the golden age of cycling”. And based on all this, it justifies its creation of the so-called ‘Specialized ecosystem’, with the aim of offering customers different purchasing models, both in physical stores and online.

REACTION IN GERMANY

But reactions to Specialized’s new strategy launched earlier this year with the launch of its direct-to-consumer online sales plan have already begun to materialize in some European markets.

In this sense, for example in Germany, Alpha Bikes, which had operated with a ‘Specialized Brand Store’ since 2008, has announced its intention to change its brand and start betting, from July, on Giant. Its owners, Gerhard Wagner and Daniel Ciasto, have justified their decision “by Specialized’s new consumer direct sales strategy.”

Faced with the arguments of the North American brand to address this new strategy, the owners of Alpha Bikes have declared that “we have our position in the market through our competition and our high standards achieved. Our clients come to us with requests and service issues. That defines us as a company. And that is exactly what we are seeing now that Specialized no longer guarantees.”

“The change in direction at Specialized has had a not inconsiderable impact on the specialized trade. They have restricted our historical role as a link between the brand and the consumer, causing our business to become increasingly unpredictable and also product availability”, Wagner and Ciasto concluded.


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