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Supermarkets Back in Bike Business?

Industry- & Retail Organizations

The reasons why are still much debated, but supermarkets as well as retail chains are again showing an interest in bikes. After reports earlier this year that companies like WalMart, Decathlon and Halfords stopped all shipments from their suppliers, it is now becoming apparent that these retail giants are

Supermarkets Back in Bike Business?

MAARSSEN, The Netherlands -The reasons why are still much debated, but supermarkets as well as retail chains are again showing an interest in bikes. After reports earlier this year that companies like WalMart, Decathlon and Halfords stopped all shipments from their suppliers, it is now becoming apparent that these retail giants are waking up from their hibernation.

Whether this also signals the recovery of the low end sector, that since the last quarter of 2008 was affected with a 30% drop in orders, still remains the question.

Fact is however that at last month’s Taipei Cycle representatives from supermarket chains like Carrefour, Metro, LeClerc as well as from retail chains were there to place enquiries at contract suppliers.

One of them, Tunisia based Mediterranean United Industries, also known as MUI, was even surprised with the all the interest for the low to mid-end bikes the company is making on the African continent. In particular after the last month’s of 2008 which weren’t all good for contract suppliers like MUI.
 
Next to the first signs of the results of the financial tsunami, the Tunisian bike maker was also faced with another unexpected problem;  the effects of the Ramadan on its workers. It became apparent that assembling bikes at temperatures of over 40 degrees Celsius without drinking and eating resulted in considerable quality problems.
 
MUI officials reacted on rumours about these quality problems by saying that the company is working on the clean-up. “We are still fairly new at producing bikes in Tunisia and yes it is a learning curve. What happened during Ramadan will never happen again as measures inside the company have been taken at staff level as well as with internal procedures. As it stands now we will not only get where we want to be but exceed the volume we originally targeted for this year.”

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