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  • Loss of quality in a brand
  • SaxonRider
    Full Member

    There are, of course, different ways of one company being owned by another: in some cases, the smaller company can retain its autonomy, while in others, it might just become a pale imitation of the parent company before disappearing altogether.

    What’s up with all the brands that SportsDirect owns? I know that some of those have quite a history, and I am wondering if they have retained their quality. Or should we just write off all brands owned by SD as rubbish, and a thin cover for a giant, low grade sports equipment provider?

    DickBarton
    Full Member

    The latter…trading on the name and nothing else…

    SaxonRider
    Full Member

    Fair enough, DB, but is that a factual answer? Or only a perception-based one?

    jimjam
    Free Member

    I think he’s right. The brand goes into receivership then…. SD buys it and starts pumping out cheap branded shit cashing in on whatever cache remains. They also seem to license brands that are stil a viable concern in the US but failed in the UK.

    CRC do something similar with bike/component brands.

    gobuchul
    Free Member

    Karrimor is a good example.

    Used to mean top quality Berghaus/North Face/Lowe Alpine standard.

    It’s now Outwell or similar.

    Although to be fair, it’s probably good enough for what most people use it for and offers value for money.

    I have a 15 year old 70 litre Karrimor rucksack that is still going strong, dounbt you would be able to say that about any of the current SD stuff.

    mikewsmith
    Free Member

    If you reduce the price then after economy of scale and cheap retailing the next thing to go will be either quality or design. Once you bin design and just recycle what you have then you can take a stab at quality and materials. No need to worry about those pesky 10 year to lifetime warranty problems. If it’s cheap enough people will bin and buy again. Makes perfect sense. Once the brand is completely tarnished just drop and move on.

    molgrips
    Full Member

    Business people just want to make money. Lots of ways to do that – building a well respected quality brand is just *one* of them.

    squirrelking
    Free Member

    Karrimor trekking trainers lasted all of a year before starting to split (only on the outer admittedly).

    Next time will be a pair of similarly priced Merrels / Columbus from Decathlon if I’m skint.

    twisty
    Full Member

    As you say it depends on the relationship between the brand and the mother company.
    In the case of SportsDirect it enivitably means quality goes down.
    Karrimor&SD i bought a pair of trainers ~£20 reduced from £80, quite quickly realised i was being a bit dumb and no way i could seriously run in them.
    I did buy a pair of sandals for £10 which have actually done quite well though, showing first signs of falling apart after 8 months of daily use.

    mikewsmith
    Free Member

    Karrimor&SD i bought a pair of trainers ~£20 reduced from £80, quite quickly realised i was being a bit dumb and no way i could seriously run in them.

    Or you bought a 20 quid pair of trainers that had a marketing RRP of 80 to make them seem like a great deal

    twisty
    Full Member

    Yes hence me being a bit dumb because I bought something that seemed like a good deal rather than actually being a good deal. I was annoyed at myself because I was drawn by stuff I think was of better quality, and I thought was older Karrimor liquidated stock, but because those were not in my size ended up somehow buying tat.

    I ended up getting some Brooks running trainers for £35 from TK-Maxx which are great. Although it is also getting harder to find genuine bargains in TK-Maxx as increasingly they get cheap stuff made directly for them too.

    mikewsmith
    Free Member

    Although it is also getting harder to find genuine bargains in TK-Maxx as increasingly they get cheap stuff made directly for them too.

    In a random conversation with someone who turned outt o be a buyer for them a significant majority is a TK-Max line from a brand, similar look but reduced cost/quality

    rone
    Full Member

    Blaupunkt telly anyone?

    stevemuzzy
    Free Member

    Berghaus mentioned earlier seem to also have massively dropped quality. Just google reviews of thier tents… i found decathlon did this as well. Initially thier stuff was cheap but great quality. Over time thier own branded stuff got more expensive but quality down (running socks a particular example) once they had established a quality perception they massively increased profits….

    Nobeerinthefridge
    Free Member

    I believe he also has some kind of hold/rights over puma as well. That’s quite a coup.

    rone
    Full Member

    Brand engineering. Works on drones that don’t or can’t be bothered to research what they’re buying but hey we’d probably not have a consumer society without it.

    To a much more minimal extent brands like BMW have certainly done this. At one point all built in Germany to a very high standard. Now they are built all over and I would argue not to the same craftsmanship.

    Works in reverse too, take SKODA. Although I think perception has swung too much in the – it’s an Audi/vw really – direction. As a fully paid up member SKODA still do things cheaply. Poor quality exterior and interior plastics, drum breaks on my last Fabia etc. However they’re probably ‘good enough’.

    edlong
    Free Member

    Given the theme of the forum, I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned Muddy Fox..

    onandon
    Free Member

    I have a real eye for detail, so get annoyed with the quality of some of the things I’ve seen.
    Earlier in the year I needed a pair of smart trousers so went to a few stores having a look.
    Hugo boss was one of the worst. Wonky seams and two pairs of trousers weren’t made correctly so the buttons wouldn’t pass though the button hole as it was made too small. I wouldn’t accept that in Primark for £10 not £200+

    CaptainFlashheart
    Free Member

    Edlong, not forgetting Planet X. Tomac, anyone?

    flaps
    Free Member

    I think the Karrimor shoes are ok, I bought some walking boot style ones for £20 a fair few years back for using when on the bike and after a few muddy winters they are still holding up ok.

    jimmy
    Full Member

    I was eyeing up my mum’s karrimor sandals at the weekend. Look nice, vibram soles, probably dirt cheap, would be fine for my purposes. Would I buy them…? Hmm, dunno.

    irc
    Full Member

    Branding is a massive con trick. My work colleague told me this week her partner had just bought a pair of trainers for just shy of £400! He doesn’t run, they are just for casual wear.

    In TK Max I saw a rail of cotton polo shirts. Could maybe do with one. Picked up an XL. Usual quality/weight feel. Checked label – reduced from £80-£40! Bargain not. THe polos in Asda or Tesco look as good or better quality. A 300-600% price increase for a different badge?

    Sports Direct Bargains? I use a folding closed cell foam mat for camping. Thermarest – £35. Sports Direct own brand £10. Even Sports Direct can’t get it wrong with a bit of closed cell foam. Cheap light running gloves as well.

    mikewsmith
    Free Member

    Branding may be quality and support isn’t. Karrimore used to offer last an actual lifetime products (we are talking a long time back though) with support to match. The consists convincing people that cheap and disposable is worth it.

    perchypanther
    Free Member

    Given the theme of the forum, I’m surprised nobody’s mentioned Muddy Fox..

    I have loads of Muddyfox cycling tops which I buy precisely because they are cheap. You dont care so much when you catch the top in some brambles if it was only £5

    milky1980
    Free Member

    The trick is to ignore the brand and any discount on the ticket and just look at each product on it’s own and decide from that. Sadly the vast majority of the general public are drawn in by the sale tickets, just look at the DFS/SCS perpetual sales. Has anyone ever paid full price for one of their sofas 😆

    rone – 100% agree on Skoda. Currently have a Fabia II which is in for service today. I’ve got a Fabia III Estate (DSG diesel with all the toys) as a courteousy car and despite only having done 1200 miles it’s got a few rattles and doesn’t feel like a better product than my 40k ‘inferior’ one. The plastics actually feel like a step back if anything!

    stevenmenmuir
    Free Member

    If you ignore the RRP and judge things on the price you pay then I’m more than happy with the few Karrimor items I’ve bought recently. Event waterproof jacket, does the job, no signs of wear or faults after 18 months. Cost me less than £80. Softshell jacket, less than £30 I think and after 3 years still going strong. Wear it a lot on the bike even though it’s not cycling specific it’s the perfect weight for me, not too heavy, keeps me warm and dry in all but the filthiest weather. I’ve had worse buying experiences with Endura than Karrimor.

    br
    Free Member

    I bought a Karrimor gillet thru an outlet shop in The Lakes last year, just what I wanted and decent fit/quality/price etc and use it for when I’ve been night riding.

    Didn’t realise that they were a SD brand until I googled to buy another (wanted one for ‘clean’ use also). Still bought it.

    br
    Free Member

    The trick is to ignore the brand and any discount on the ticket and just look at each product on it’s own and decide from that

    +1, do this for pretty much everything – maybe it’s a age thing 🙂

    andybrad
    Full Member

    to be fair ive purchased a couple of pairs of karrimoors (one running one walking) and they’ve been fine for the money. They are not 100 quid trainers but your paying peanuts for them. Grab any type of trainers these days and there all pretty crap.

    Garry_Lager
    Full Member

    Cannondale went bust abar 15 years ago after an optimistic foray into the motorcycle market (you know, we can make a decent mountain bike, so lets take on Honda and Kawasaki from a standing start). Anyhow, they were scraped up by Dorel, a giant conglomerate which looks like the Canadian version of Matalan, and……went from strength to strength, continuing to make quality, competitive bikes on and off road.

    scud
    Full Member

    Planet X through and through, their quality now is laughable, and they have completely de-valued brands such as Holdsworth.

    This year i have bought from a Fatty Trail frame (sent back as seatpost rattled in the seat tube and it required a Coke can shim and over-tightening seat collar to stay up) and a “Holdsworth” single speed road frame, the Holdsworth paint is so bad, it had 8-9 chips in it within a week of normal commuting and all the paint fell off around the seat collar and the bottle cage bolts, plus the decals look like something off an Airfix model

    mattsccm
    Free Member

    I will admit to being in some respects to being a right gear snob. Still using my first Karrimor sack from 1980. But I have to admit my 5 year old one is as good.
    I have stopped using Merrel shoes. They last no longer than my Cheap 20 quid Karrimors and cost 4 times the price. In fact the cheapies probably are better in that they get abuse from day one as they are cheap but the expensive ones get looked after.
    Some of the Karrimor cycling kit is pretty shoddy though.
    Does devaluation mean mass market though?
    Eg Berghaus were classy kit up until the early 90’s then every chav and his dog started using it. Ditto North Face and now Rab.
    Hmmm

    tiggs121
    Free Member

    Are Planet X bikes so bad? I was looking at their Kaffenback for winter commuting – maybe a rethink required ??

    samunkim
    Free Member

    Bertrand Paradox & Product differentiation

    Product differentiation offers firms market power. This enables them to transcend the Bertrand Paradox for pricing homogeneous products. In the Bertrand Paradox, two or more firms sell goods that consumers perceive as identical, so goods are perfect substitutes. Assume that marginal costs are common and constant, and market demand has a finite price intercept. Then one good cannot carry a price premium over another while retaining positive sales. Any lowest price above marginal cost would then profitably be undercut. This logic impels us to marginal cost pricing as the only equilibrium under Bertrand competition.
    Product differentiation resolves the paradox naturally. When products are imperfect substitutes, a price-cutting firm cannot take all of its rivals’ customers with an infinitesimally small price cut. This means that firms have some market power (due to the special features that distinguish them from their rivals’ products); they can set prices without a completely elastic response by consumers. It also means that the product itself becomes a choice variable and firms differentiate to avoid the Bertrand outcome.

    Simon P. Anderson
    Commonwealth Professor of Economics,
    University of Virginia

    makecoldplayhistory
    Free Member

    The North Face shoes. I think their bags are fantastic but the shoes seem to fall apart for no good reason: disintegrating midsoles. Customer care was excellent and I’m now on my third pair. Getting a little bored posting them back to Finland though.

    I have a Karrimoor waterproof jacket and it’s excellent. Kept me dry through 2 of Thailand’s rainy seasons riding to school on my scooter. Not even vaguely breathable but it’s doing fantastically at its price point. I ignored the pricing Was £80 now £40 Final price £25 and for the £25 it’s brilliant.

    I wouldn’t write off anything as rubbish simply beacuse of who owns it but instead look at it on its current merit as opposed to imagined quality or previous experience. The same goes in reverse for, for example, Hi-Tec shoes. When I was at school, the piss would be whole-heartedly taken for wearing them for PE. I’ve some Merrell-esque shoes, Vibram soles, Goretex, yet to show much sign of wear anywhere.

    Slightly OT – how about Kona and Saracen and perceived or real loss of quality? Ur bike iz Sarcin was smashed with the 2011 Kili Flyer. Kona seem to have gone from properly stunning dream machines to BSOs, IMO. I’m not sure if that’s my tastes refining as I’ve aged or if Kona have become a less premium brand.

    piedidiformaggio
    Free Member

    Merrel footwear again here.

    Used to be great quality and last for ages. Over the years they have reduced quality to the point that they now appear to be made of very thin cheese. The prices, however, have remained at the more ‘premium’ end of the market.

    Nico
    Free Member

    Abercrombie and Fitch used to be a posh traditional New York department store. Not a jeans and t-shirts outfit run by survivalists in the fly-over states.

    footflaps
    Full Member

    What’s up with all the brands that SportsDirect owns?

    Sports Direct model is pile it high and sell it cheap. It’s unashamedly a low end market business (which is very successful).

    epicyclo
    Full Member

    When I was in business, I always reckoned the quick way to assess an unknown product was to find out how that business treated its staff.

    Not infallible of course, but a good guide to attitude.

    cb
    Full Member

    SD now own Direct Golf – used to be one of the ‘go to’ online places for quality golf gear – now full of Dunlop rubbish (remember when they made good stuff?).

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