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Following consumer pressure, Vista makes plans to sell Giro, Bell, Blackburn

CEO says decision has little to do with firearms controversy



In what will surely be heralded as a victory for those who advocated for major retailers to drop all brands associated with Vista Outdoor Inc, the company has announced it plans to sell its Bell, Giro and Blackburn brands. Backlash grew against Vista Outdoor Inc after the February 14 Parkland High School Shooting in Florida, leading several major retailers, including MEC and REI along with a number of independent realtors to announce they were dropping all Vista-owned brands.

Vista’s announcement also included plans to sell the Copilot brand of baby bike carriers and Raskullz and Krasho child helmet brands, as well as Jimmy Styks paddleboard brand. The company currently intends to retain CamelBak, which makes hydration packs popular in the cycling industry and especially among mountain bikers, as well as its Camp Chef, Bushnell, and various ammunition brands.

According to Vista CEO Chris Metz, the decision has little to do with any pressure placed on the company following Parklands, and instead reflects the next step in an ongoing plan to refocus the company on ammunition sales. “We have been on this path of strategically determining where we wanted to guide the company way before any of the noise came about eight weeks ago,” said Metz of the plan to sell off Giro, Bell and Blackburn, noting that major outdoor realtor REI represents less than one percent of the company’s total sales. The Canadian realtor, MEC, represents an even smaller percentage of Vista’s sales.

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The decision follows last year’s announcement that Vista would be selling French eyewear and helmet brand, Bollé. That sale should be complete, Metz said Tuesday, by the end of the next fiscal first quarter. The shift away from outdoor goods in order to refocus on ammunition was part of a statement released Tuesday.

While Vista’s decision to sell the brands will likely be good news to some in the cycling industry, the sale could take some time to complete. Metz said the company is looking to complete the sale of Bell, Giro and Blackburn, along with several other brands, by the end of the 2020 fiscal year.

Canadian outdoor realtor, MEC found itself facing intense consumer pressure earlier this year when it took its time making the decision to drop brands associated with Vista Outdoor Inc. While many consumers felt the delay was unnecessary, the company defended its timeline and ultimate decision to drop the brands. David Labistour, MEC’s CEO eventually released a statement outlining the reasons behind the outdoor realtors decision to drop Vista brands and explaining the reasons behind the delay in deciding to do so.

MEC has not yet responded to announcement that Vista will be selling the brands, or given any indication how the sale will affect its decision not to carry those brands in its stores.