Here’s you’re chance to enter the Rapala Win Your Wishlist contest.
(As reported October 19, 2017 – Fishing Tackle Retailer | Industry News)
North American tackle distributor Big Rock Sports will no longer pursue an acquisition of one of its key competitors, legacy distributor Maurice Sporting Goods. The news was announced in a letter addressed to Big Rock vendors on October 18. That letter, obtained by FTR and published here, outlines the withdrawal of a letter of intent to purchase Maurice from Big Rock’s parent company, Peak Global Holdings, LLC.
Dear Vendor Partners,
Last week, it was announced that Peak Global Holdings, LLC, the parent company of Big Rock Sports, had signed a Letter of Intent to acquire select assets of Chicago-based outdoor sporting goods distributor, Maurice Sporting Goods. As was indicated in that announcement, the acquisition was subject to customary closing conditions. After further due diligence performed last week, we determined that the acquisition would no longer be in the best interest of our company and have therefore decided to withdraw our Letter of Intent.
Significant opportunities exist for our company’s continued growth as we build relationships with new customers and enhance partnerships with existing customers and vendors. We want to ensure that our focus remains on our business and our core values, and that we never waiver from providing the high level of service our customers and vendors expect.
As always, we will share information about new opportunities as they arise. If you have any questions about this announcement please don’t hesitate to ask.
It is estimated that the combined portfolio of Big Rock and Maurice could have reached as many as 20,000 retailers in the U.S. and Canada. However, the 94-year old Maurice has been embroiled in legal and financial turmoil in 2017. Despite opening a 300,000 square foot distribution facility and securing an expansion of its credit line through deals with BMO Harris Bank, The Private Bank, and First Midwest Bank, Maurice has drawn the ire of tackle manufacturers for missed payments this year.
It is unclear whether the ongoing turmoil in Chicago was related to the decision of Peak Global Holdings, LLC to withdraw its letter of intention to buy.
(As published October 19, 2017 – Fishing Tackle Retailer| Industry News|)
Nathan Rigby answered the question solemnly: how should tackle manufacturers cater to retailers while expanding their presence with Amazon?
You’ve got to pick a side. That’s what Rigby said, in so many words, at last week’s Sportfishing Summit in Tampa, Florida. Rigby— a keynote speaker and VP of Sales & Marketing for One Click Retail, a firm specializing in eCommerce and Amazon strategy—presided over the crowd of 200 or so manufacturers, industry experts and retailers and told them that a storm is coming. “You’ve got to shoot where your target is going to be, not where it’s at,” he said.
By target, he meant customers.
So where is the target going? If Rigby is right, they’re going to Amazon.
And while Amazon’s current fishing tackle offerings present a smattering of the arcane and obscure, the company’s gaze is ever shifting towards fishing tackle. “Right now, our customers look at Amazon like Darth Vader,” said one manufacturer. And he’s right. But with a valuation of $430 billion, the force is strong in Amazon.
Worldwide, only Apple, Google, and Microsoft are worth more than Jeff Bezos’ online powerhouse.
In April of this year, Amazon was worth more than twice the value of $220 billion Wal-Mart. In August, Amazon announced a search for a second, 50,000-job U.S. headquarters. The bidding process has cities on every coast scrambling to attract the online retailer and offering hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks. In October, three representatives from Amazon were in the crowd of sport fishing industry experts to hear Rigby’s address.
Know your enemy
The fishing industry is gearing up for a fight. Independent retailers are scrambling for strategies to compete with Amazon’s inevitable invasion. Manufacturers are bracing for negotiations that could push profit margins down in world where big box retailers are already exerting influence on their bottomline. Consumers are waiting to see if Jeff Bezos and company can create an effective tackle buying experience.
Count FTR among the skeptical on the last bit. Tackle buying is often an intimate, educational experience. Online retailers like Tackle Warehouse and Tackle Addict have managed to carve significant niches in the field, but their websites are specifically geared towards hardcore anglers. Amazon, meanwhile, is geared towards fast shipping and low prices with a product spectrum built on search results.
According to Rigby, most people who shop on Amazon start and end with the search bar—they rarely, if ever, even bother to use the tabs on the website’s lefthand side. Likewise, few transition to the second page of search results. As Rigby put it, they simply try again with a new combination of keywords.
For tackle buyers, that means you’ve got to know what you’re looking for to buy from Amazon. And that’s not an approach that benefits novice and intermediate anglers who don’t necessarily know what tackle they need.
So, the $430 billion behemoth has a mountain to climb if it wants to conquer the future of fishing. Right now, their user interface simply isn’t fisherman friendly.
Where many retailers feel threatened by Amazon, though, is in the shop and drop world, where brick and mortar stores see themselves becoming a browsing space for new gear. In that scenario, customers would simply find what they like in a local retail outlet and order the product—for less—on Amazon.
That is a very real concern.
Already, most Amazon products can be delivered in two days or less. With an armada of autonomous delivery drones on the horizon, many cities could see that delivery time cut down to minutes.
Amazon is Aggressive
Since 2001, the company has relied on a plan of “relentlessly lowering prices” as a pillar of operations. That mantra is driven in part by paranoia, not of competitors, but of shifting consumer trends, and it means that Amazon is okay taking a smaller profit margin on some items if it believes the price point will drive more consumers into its overall ecosystem.
Tackle manufacturers and retailers, then, must ask themselves how Amazon sees anglers. Chances are, they’re not looking at anglers as just a bass fisherman or a trout enthusiast. They’re looking at those customers as parents who need groceries, household goods, and entertainment for their kids. Or, they’re not only seeing a hot shot college tournament pro, but also a young adult entering a period of freshly gained disposable income.
Just how much of that pie Amazon is willing to pursue could theoretically affect their prices on tackle products.
That approach is not unlike Wal-Mart, who relies on pharmaceuticals to bring return shoppers into their own ecosystem.
Every once and a while I hear from my friend Puneet Saini who lives in Himachel Pradesh, India. I traveled there on two occasions to fish and film the famous and beautiful Golden Mahseer.
Ever since I produced the TV shows there and having them posted on our Italo Labignan YouTube channel, many Indians have watched the footage and some have become hooked on “angling”. You must understand that India has a very large population and most of the people there cannot afford fishing gear. Fishing fear is even very difficult to purchase there. Puneet often contacts me and asks for my opinion on lure selections and presentations. It really makes me feel good to be able to help him and see his successful catches. The Mahseer above was caught very close to his home and you can see the artificial lure he caught it on.
Feature image shows a happy anglers catch of this bright Steelhead while being guided by Tracey Hittel of Kitimat Lodge. Fly fishing at its BEST…and don’t forget to please “Keep-em-Wet”.
Noel Gyger report. Light rain Saturday and heavier rain Sunday with highs to +10 degrees Celsius (GREAT fall weather). With the good weather all the rivers are dropping and cleaning, good fishing conditions, should hold for the weekend. Skeena River is fishing well for Steelhead and Coho. Kalum River is fishing well for Steelhead and Coho. Guiding started April 1 and ends October 31. Kitimat River is fishing well for Coho and local Trout. Skeena River tribs west of Terrace are fishing well for Coho. Water may be very low so be careful running your jet boat. The rain coming for the weekend should bump it up? And move fish up river. Ocean fishing for Salmon, Halibut, Prawn and Crab good out of the ports of Kitimat and Prince Rupert.
If you would like to book a river fishing guide or ocean charter for 2016-17 you can contact Noel at, www.noelgyger.ca .