Thursday, November 30, 2006

EuroBike Strikes Again...

I know I said the InterBike killer was dead, but it looks like its ready to go for it again.

EuroBike just inked a "strategic partnership" with the Sea Otter Classic Festival.

"Messe Friedrichhafen is committed to raising its profile in the United States," says CEO Klaus Wellmann. The Eurobike team will first concentrate on creating a partnership framework with the Sea Otter Classic Festival. "We'd like to harmonize the trade show with the sporting event for the spring start of the cycling season, in order to reach manufacturers, retailers, the media and consumers more consistently," explains Wellmann.

North Carolina Climbing at its best....

Lost In Space on Hawksbill in the Linville Gorge.

Cloudveil for sale?

It looks like Cerebrus, the PE fund behind Cloudveil's parent company, SBI has hired Goldman Sachs and Rothschild to come up with a valuation for SBI. Is a sale in the works, and will they break out Cloudveil and Fila separately?

I know there is a major shortage of premium brands in the outdoor industry for sale these days, and I'm sure the bidding war over Cloudveil will be heated. If it's actually for sale.

Potential Buyers? I could see Quiksilver (ZQK) getting in on the action as well as Armor Holdings (AH) (Gregory's parent company), Liz Claiborn (LIZ), ORC Industries and a number of PE firms. Also, lets not forget about the possibility of an MBO.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Retailer Update

It looks like Mammut is partnering with IME in New Hampshire to renovate their store...

Link

...ExOfficio is launching a new Bellvue store...

Link

...and, a hunting retailer in PA was busted for selling weapons to Russia, Kuwait, Germany and Japan.

Link

Winter Without Snow...

I've been looking into this recently and it is pretty clear that the global ski industry is getting hit hard by warming temperatures. Several World Cup events have been cancelled this year, the most recent was in Val D'Isere. This is a resort with terrain above 10,000 feet, similar to most of the Utah resorts. It's not only hitting the resorts but also retailers. Hardgoods sales are particularly vulnerable.

The Ski Industry has formed a non-profit to address this issue called Keep Winter Cool. They have this NASA Photo that illustrates our predicament nicely.

This seems to be a key issue impacting bot the ski industry and the outdoor industry. Perhaps its time to cross borders and start working together on this. Right now it seems as though the only folks supporting this are the National Ski Areas Association and the Natural Resources Defence Council.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Armstrong the Business Mogul

Forbes just published an interview with Lance. here are a few excerpts...

It's all about hard work and commitment. On the bike and in business, it's about being consistent, making your case, having the best people around you and telling the most compelling story. But there are real differences. In racing, you put in the effort, test yourself and you have a really good shot at success. While that's also true in business, fundraising and research, it can all be made more difficult by the political process. Success in those areas isn't measured in miles or a weekend race. It can take a really long time to succeed.


The political process is so cutthroat. I'm not sure why you'd subject yourself to all of that, possibly win and then find out all you really have is a full time job! [Laughs] That said, public service is one of the highest forms of nobility you can aspire to. I just don't know if it's for me.

Link

Monday, November 27, 2006

The Interbike Killer is Dead...

According to Bike Biz:

The 'Interbike killer' is no more. At least not until 2008. Maybe. There was an underwhelming reaction from the US bike industry when the Friedrichshafen-owned Eurobike show said it wanted to stage a September trade show in Portland, Oregon.

Word on the street...

Bike Europe is reporting that Bianchi may be sold in the near future...

Retailer Update

With a new apparel line coming out this year and the ability to outfit folks in head to toe "M" branded gear, is Wolverine World Wide ready to pursue its own Merrell retail strategy?


Merrell to Open Second U.S. Retail Store

Merrell opened its second U.S. retail store on Friday, November 24 at the Forum on Peachtree Parkway located on the northern perimeter of Atlanta in Norcross, GA. The opening of the Atlanta store follows the opening for the first Merrell retail store in Huntington, N.Y. last December...

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Piton Honored by OIA?

Drew over at Wicked Outdoorsy is suggesting that OIA may be honoring The Piton as the Outdoor Innovator of the year. I would have to agree with him, The Piton has shaken things up quite a bit over the past two years.

Monday, November 20, 2006

BR&IN is reporting that BMX Business News is no more.

B.O.S.S. This Week

Even with the holidays right around the corner we had a busy news week.

Cascade Designs Moves on with New Leadership...

Joe Mc Swiney, the new president of Cascade Designs, sat down for a conversation with The B.O.S.S. Report to discuss his goals for the company. Cascade Designs is facing some challenges that several maturing companies in the outdoor industry are looking to address. Many of the classic outdoor brands were founded during the backpacking boom of the mid to late 1970’s and today, are faced with sustaining the energy of the brand in the absence of the founders.

"It's my intention that the organization last a very long time, and I consider that to be one-hundred years plus," said Mc Swiney. "So it is essential that we transition beyond the original founders. Organizations tend to get their core purpose from their founders, the reason for existence, and sometimes organizations take that for granted. So, it's important to manage that transition. This is not a today or tomorrow thing, John Burroughs is going to be around for quite a while, but it’s something to set up so the transition happens smoothly."
LINK

Timberland Sale Rumors Swirl in the Press…

Wall Street and the business media were all abuzz last week after the Wall Street Journal published a story suggesting that The Timberland Company was exploring strategic options for the company, including a potential sale. Timberland is reportedly valued at nearly $2 billion. The Journal, Reuters and others cited "people familiar with the matter" as their source for the information.

WSJ said that Goldman Sachs had been called in to assist the company with the sale and Timberland has been reaching out to potential buyers. The Times of London also fueled the speculation writing that, “The company is believed to have held 'preliminary and informal' talks with at least three potential buyers, all of which were private equity firms.” Timberland officials contacted by The B.O.S.S. Report declined to comment on what were described as "rumors."
LINK

Other Stories include:

􀂄 Johnson Outdoors improves nearly all metrics in fiscal Q4… (Page 3)
􀂄 Gander Mountain swings to profitability in Q4… (Page 4)
􀂄 Eddie Bauer Q3 loss grows; inks deal to go private… (Page 4)
􀂄 Dick’s SG beats Q3 guidance, raises full year estimates…(Page 5)
􀂄 Royal Robbins sees record Q3… (Page 6)
􀂄 Zumiez Q3 margins hit by new stores… (Page 6)
􀂄 Easton Bell integration rolls on with strong Q3 results… (Page 6)
􀂄 Mammut acquires German headlamp brand… (Page 7)

Friday, November 17, 2006

New York City

Well, I've been absent from the blog world for the past two days - on the road in New York to finalize everything for the December issue of Outdoor Business and Sporting Goods Business. I have to admit, I'm pretty excited about these issues. Other than transferring some data from one server to another, the integration is done and we are rolling ahead full steam. This will be the first round of magazines where Lou and I have had any real input. Its also the first round where we've been able to communicate the new focused direction of the magazines. Its great working with the group up there. Having so many talented editors, - and an art director - its a fun time to work here.

I think everyone will be able to see the difference in the next issue. And, this is just the first step. January will be even better.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Merrell Apparel

It looks like Merrell will be officially launching their first apparel line at Winter Market. The folks at Wolverine have been telling the Wall Street analysts about this for over a year now and it should be interesting.
Supposedly they brought in designers from places like Juicy Couture...

RSN Has a Few New Owners

And one of them is John Cumming.

Resort Sports Network, RSN, will be sold to private investors with extensive expertise in the media and resort industries...
The investor group consists of private investors with extensive media, resort and acquisition expertise. Some of the key individuals are Mark A. Burchill, a cofounder of 24/7 Media (Nasdaq: TFSM) an Internet advertising company; John Cumming, CEO of Powdr Corp. which owns ski resorts including Park City Resort, Alpine Meadows, Mt. Bachelor, Las Vegas Ski & Snowboard Resort and a founding partner of Mountain Hardware; Len Conway, a former equity partner in Telluride Ski and Golf Corp.; and John Cooney, an owner of EUE Screen Gems, Ltd., one of the largest film production companies in the US.

There's Oil in them thar Hills!

Whether you believe John Dalton's technique really could get oil from shale, or if you'd be better off burning a box of cornflakes, the gov't feels we've reached a point where environment be damned, we need to try. As usual, the oil guys say everything will be fine, while everyone who isn't labeled as a line item in their ledgers says there's definitely not been enough research done to see what effects their work will have on the local wilderness.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/15712936/

From msnbc.com via AP

Of course lost in the discussion is that since we need to get the oil from the shale and the ground will no doubt have to be torn up, we'll need to take down those forests and remove those minerals. But that's ancillary really and not worth worrying about...

Blog Marketing

Tim Jackson over at Shut Up and Drink the Kool Aid linked to an interesting pdf of marketing execs talking about why they blog. Certainly some good stuff.

Link

Word on the street...

...is that Timberland has hired Goldman Sachs to pursue strategic alternatives...

This could be a very interesting strategic buy for several companies in the outdoor industry. VFC probably has the cash to do it, but so does Nike.

However, judging by some of the recent Timberland conference calls with Wall Street analysts and the media that I have listened to, I would bet management wants to take the company private, so look for a large PE firm to step up to the plate.

Retailer Update

Chalk up another store for Sport Chalet. That's 44 now.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Number 6...

BaseCampComm.com just ranked us as the number 6 most influential Blog in the outdoor industry.

Considering we've been at this for less than three months, I'm pretty happy with that.

Although I think he forgot a few...

11. The Mountain World Dougald really knows just about everything there is to know about climbing - the industry and the sport.

12. ShanesLogic - Everything about steepcreeking in the South from a real whitewater industry perspective.

13. National Parks Traveler Kurt gets around the country more than anyone I know. And he has news on everything there is to know about National Parks.

14. FeedTheHabit.com Want gear reviews? want show reviews? they've got it.

15. GapingVoid Is there a "best of" blog list that doesn't have GapingVoid? It's not outdoor specific, but if you are a student of blog marketing, it's a must-read.

Retailer Update

lucy Opens San Fransisco Store

and

Eddie Bauer was acquired.

Although not by VF, like some folks were speculating.

The funny thing about this deal is that the PE firm that owned E.B.'s parent company before E.B. was spun off as its own public company (three months ago) was also one of the firms that just acquired it.

ROI moves ahead with a new name and mission statement

Retailers of the Outdoor Industry has acted as the most successful outdoor industry buying group since 1990 when several retailers decided to join forces and compare
best practices at the Outdoor Retailer trade show. The group has grown considerably since then and now, Dave Matz, R.O.I.’s president since 2001, is taking the
organization to the next level with a name change and a completely new mission statement. R.O.I. will now be called the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance....

Check out this weeks' B.O.S.S. for the full story.

plus:

o Head grabs winter sports market share…
o Sport Chalet swings to fiscal Q2 profit…
o Retail in Australia sees a shake-up…
o Rocky sees sales decline in several areas…
o LaSportiva aims for zero waste…
o Black’s Leisure sees tough environment for Millets outdoor retail in U.K.
o Vietnam to join WTO…

Friday, November 10, 2006

While the rumors may have been denied...

Timbuk2 just announced the appointment of Perry Klebahn as New CEO...

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Looking to get involved with wind power?

Be careful...

On October 24, 2006, a United States District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois, entered orders of Final Judgment against U.S. Wind Farming, Inc. and William L. Telander. The Final Judgments permanently enjoin Wind Farming and Telander from violating several sections of the Securities Act.


The Final Judgments also bar Wind Farming and Telander from participating in penny stock offerings.

The Court also ordered Telander to return any shares of Wind Farming stock in his possession, custody or control to Wind Farming, and ordered Wind Farming to cancel all shares that defendants in this matter are ordered to return.

Somebody's happy...

"Pombo's defeat is not just a victory for the people of California's 11th-district. This is a moment to be savored by anyone who loves Yosemite National Park or the California coast or Giant Sequoia National Monument, places Pombo worked to mine, drill, or log. On the issue of energy policy in particular, America is extremely fortunate to be replacing someone who's energy priorities were dictated by Big Oil with a man who is an expert on renewable wind power and who has the vision to help our nation develop smart new energy technologies and jobs."
-Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Word on the street...

It sounds like Spyder is launching a new apparel brand

and

Giro is launching something in hardgoods (other than helmets)...

Biofuel or Fuel Efficiency

Here's the main reason the "Biofuel instead of fuel efficiency" argument doesn't work for me...

Exploding U.S. Grain Demand For Automotive Fuel Threatens World Food Security And Political Stability

Judge gives a flat to fixed-gear bike riders

Can you believe we're wasting court time on this...

Link

The latest round in the struggle between Portland traffic officers and fixed-gear bicycle riders went in favor of the police Monday as a Multnomah County Circuit judge found four cyclists guilty of riding a bike without a brake.

Monday, November 06, 2006

First, North Carolina wins the Stanley Cup...

...and now we have the first ski resort on the east coast to open.

Link

Retail Update

There are a few new store openings today:

The Walking Company

Topo Ranch General Store

Sport Chalet

On top of that, Copeland's is selling most of its assets to TSA

It may be the McFleece of the outdoor industry...

but it is also one of the most successful jackets ever.

The Piton is showing the myriad of colors the Denali comes in this year.

Our Research shows that the Denali pulled in well over $6 million in sales... in October alone.

REI Gives Seed Money to Launch Ahnu...

From this morning's BOSS Report


Van Dine and Partners, which is comprised of many of the former managers at Keen Footwear, plan to launch a new footwear brand that will make its debut in April
of 2007. Ahnu, taken from “Anu”, the Celtic goddess of well-being, is expected to be targeted at outdoor specialty.

...

One interesting twist is that REI will provide seed investment to support the company’s start-up costs, giving it a minority stake in Ahnu. A unique requirement
of the investment is that any profits REI may realize above its initial investment and related administrative costs will be donated to a non-profit that has a clear
mission of introducing people into the outdoors and protecting natural lands. The non-profit will be mutually agreed upon by both companies.

For the full story...

well, you need to subscribe.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Pie Charts

After all of the money speak yesterday, I felt we needed some pie charts to lighten the mood...


Interesting Post from Cyclicio

Eurobike, Interbike, PR and Crisis Management

It is interesting how VNU has handled this news especially with their blog postings.

It is also interesting how Eurobike is handling their PR around the announcement. The story has appaeared in Bike Europe first and then appeared in, BR&IN, Velo News and Outdoor Business UPDATE.

There was no big PR push in the U.S. and there is no mention coming directly from Eurobike.

To me it seems as if they are just testing the waters with an announcement that is sure to make some news. By announcing the dates so close to InterBike, they certainly shocked the industry. At the same time they created an uphill battle for themselves. It's going to be very hard to convince any marketing department to drop InterBike for an unproven show, even if it is in Portland (which, in my humble opinion, is a much better location than Vegas).

Anyway, we'll be keeping our eyes on both parties to see how the game plays out...

Monthly Retail Report

The monthly sales for the 40+- public companies that we cover on a regular basis came in today. We've been reading press releases and publishing stories since 6:30 am. In the heat of things we don't really get much time to digest the information, but now that things have slowed a bit I can get a 10,000 foot view of what's going on out there. Most of the companies we cover are more pertinent for the Sporting Goods Industry than the outdoor industry, but there are a few that offer some interesting insights.

It's pretty clear that Zumiez is mopping up the action sports crowd, and PacSun is paying the price. It's interesting to see the impact that adding a hardgoods department has on sales. Even if hardgoods are just a small part of Zumiez business, it adds so much more authenticity to the shops that PacSun just can't compete.

We also look at Big Dog Holdings regularly. Why? BDOG owns The Walking Company which is basically an outdoor footwear mall-based shop. TWC is posting some impressive double-digit comp-sales results and basically saving BDOG from some serious losses.

Some big-picture results include Wal-Mart - sales were basically flat for the month, and the company's outlook for November is the same. Some would say this is a clear sign of slowing retail, but Target, Costco, and Kohl's are all posting much better results. Is it possible that Wal-Mart is seeing some consumer backlash?

Finally, DSW, which carries a surprisingly large selection of Merrell footwear, is also seeing some positive results this month.

The public companies that do business in the Bicycle, Outdoor and SnowSports arena seem to be doing well. Even the small specialty shops that I talk to regularly are pretty positive about this season. Sure, we have the occasional complaint about "teflon greased close-out channels," but overall business seems to be up this month.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Burton's John Lacy Tells All

Gabcast! Burton's John Lacy Tells All

Lacy talks about the winter 07/08 line and where the new fashion trends are going...

Letters...

Looks like I need to clarify what the Oil 150 is all about, since I myself misunderstood.

"Oil 150 is not an industry organization or affiliation. We are a committee, not a board, administered by the Oil Region Alliance. The Oil Region Alliance is the non-profit organization that manages the federally designated Oil Region National Heritage Region, and the state designated Pennsylvania Oil Heritage Region. The Oil 150 Steering committee is celebrating the Drake Well discovery and our proud heritage as the birth place of the petroleum industry. "

- Lois McElwee, Oil 150 Coordinator

Congrats John!

K2's Technical Apparel Platform Names Cooley Director of Strategy Development

Eurobike is Coming to the U.S.

Posted this morning in Outdoor Business UPDATE

Messe Friedrichshafen, the Owners of Europe's largest bicycle trade show, Erobike, will be launching a new trade show in the U.S. to compete directly with InterBike. Officials from EuroBike have reportedly met with Portland city officials to discuss hosting the show at the The Oregon Convention Center, with a two day outdoor demo in Ski Bowl or near Hood River.

“I was interested to hear the news of Eurobike’s proposed show,” said Lance Camisasca, Interbike's group show director. “We welcome competition, as it will help us do a better job. However, we are also greatly concerned about the dividing effect Eurobike’s announcement may have on the industry. Many will remember the time when the industry suffered through multiple shows resulting in additional expense and heartache. We hope the industry will continue to support the Interbike show and we promise to continue to do everything we can to make Interbike the best show for the North American market.”

Other reports have recently surfaced claiming that Eurobike surpassed Interbike in terms of size and attendance this year. According to published numbers, Eurobike saw Trade visitors up 6% per cent to 31,810 including bike retailers from 76 countries, 5 continents and 44% attendees coming form from outside Germany. 1,064 journalists from 32 countries were at the show.

In comparison, Interbike hosted 22,000 individual exhibitors, manufacturers’ representatives, buyers and members of the media, which represents a 12% increase versus 2005 attendance. Buyer attendance was close to 10,400 individuals, which equates to a 6% increase versus 2005 and represents a little more than 3,100 stores. "Close to 450" working media attended Interbike, representing a 15% increase versus 2005 attendance.

“We understand the Interbike show may not be perfect,” Camisasca said. “But we have always tried to listen to retailers, exhibitors and advocacy groups to improve the show and to help the industry grow. For example, when the industry wanted more space, all on one floor, we moved the show to Las Vegas. We have also kept exhibiting costs below the tradeshow industry average to maintain affordability for exhibitors both large and small.”

The new U.S. version of Eurobike is still waiting on an official name and the EU based company is still hiring a team to organize and run the show, which will reportedly take place sometime next September.



Now, when will the Friedrichshafen OutDoor Show make the jump accross the pond...