Kent promotes hardware store cycling

Kent is bullish on bicycling.

Parsippany, N.J.-based bicycle manufacturer Kent International sees momentum in bike sales in the hardware channel. The company now has six styles stocked in Orgill's distribution system.

In addition to Mintcraft brand men's and women's steel frame and aluminum frame cruisers, Kent has men's and women's Giordano fitness cruisers in the warehouse, ready for shipment, said Kent's Ron Lippner, VP sales.

"Every segment of cycling is growing," Lippner told Home Channel News, at the Kent booth on the Orgill Dealer Market floor in Orlando, Fla.

He pointed to a market that supports 18 million bicycle sales per year. Of those 18 million units, Walmart accounts for about 10 million, he said.

In dollar share, bicycle retailing is dominated by Walmart, where the price point tops out at about $150. The pure-play bike shops dominate the high end, where prices kick in at about $300 to $350, he said. Between those two are the sporting good stores. The spot for hardware stores to fit into this picture seems to be between the mass discounter and the sporting goods stores.

"Hardware stores, from my point of view, provide one-on-one relationships with customers, and that's what bicycling needs," he said.

In addition to the six bikes stocked in the Orgill warehouse, Kent offers several other styles and models.

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