Is it possible CRC are now feeling the delayed effects of their redistribution of OE stock across regions?
For instance their tactic of bypassing Madison for Shimano stuff by going elsewhere in Europe or finding "Grey" OE distributors and buying in bulk, worked for a few years but are those same European Shimano distributors now ceasing to supply CRC so readily, when they see an expanding CRC breaking more and more into their own home markets and competing directly with their other customers.
Could CRC's original competitive advantage (Basically being able to buy OE stock in bulk from other sales territories and then undercut the locals elsewhere by having bypassed the official distribution chain) now have become a limiting factor.
CRC wants to operate like a "Global, direct to customer distributor" in a market full of established "smaller, regional two tier distribution networks" they are however still reliant on obtaining stock at a competitive price from the "Old" distribution networks and I'm sure a number of brands probably still prevented from supplying CRC directly (even via hotlines) by agreements with their existing distributors.
As was stated before, CRC end up waiting for a distributor to dump some OE overstock to allow them to undercut the smaller businesses again, but as the supply chain gets a bit leaner and more efficient (essential given the current economic climate) they will find these cheap bulk deals harder to come by...
TBH these clunky old distribution models can't last forever, not in a world where I as a consumer can go online and buy parts from the UK, Germany, France, Spain or Poland and chase down the best prices from all over the EU.
CRC have done well for a while by effectively shifting stock from one market into another, but even that tactic had a limited shelf life.