|Article on Schwinn & Mass Merchandisers from Washington Post||GK|
Aug 17, 2002 1:09 PM
|Schwinn's New Chains
The Classic Bike Brand Ends Its Exclusive Reliance on Specialty-Shop Sales
Here is the lead...
The gold standard of traditional American bicycles started appearing in Wal-Mart, Target and Toys R Us stores this month, stunning the U.S. cycling industry and promising to transform the way bicycles are sold.
Schwinn, the premier brand of Pacific Cycle LLC, has long been a staple of specialty bike shops, which sell its family, off-road and sleek racing bikes for up to $2,800 apiece. The line has always been withheld from mass retailers. But Schwinn's new parent company is determined to get the brand in front of more shoppers -- in order to dodge what one researcher calls the "age-induced recession" that threatens the entire bicycle trade.
The concern has everything to do with aging baby boomers. Once among the most avid of riders, boomers abandoned their bikes in alarming numbers in the past decade. Bicycle riding, once the third most popular sport in the country, dropped to seventh last year. And suddenly there's a danger of an oversupply of bicycles because of the dwindling demand.