Johnson Outdoors “Re-evaluating” Lendal Paddles - Up for Sale?

Wednesday, 21 October 2009
Frosty Morning LendalsOutdoor Industry Insiders have been all a buzz lately about what is going on at Johnson Outdoors and more specifically, Lendal Paddles.

There are a whole pile of rumours as to the future of the flagship brand but we do know that Johnson has stopped manufacturing new products and supplies are dwindling in stores. In fact, if you are looking for a deal, Mountain Equipment Co-op up here in Canada has discounted the entire line and currently clearing it out.

So what’s happening? Though no “official” statement has come out from Johnson yet, a source said that they are, “re-evaluating how to move forward with the Lendal brand.”

Lendal Paddles LogoSo what does that mean? Of course nothing is official and I’m purely speculating but in the normal business world; a statement like that above usually means that the line isn’t making enough money and they are either going to discontinue or sell it outright.

Dropping and selling lines happens all the time in the big world of business. Johnson has had a tough year and just underwent a large restructuring plan aimed at cutting manufacturing costs and other expenses. It’s quite likely they are now focusing on streamlining the brands that are performing well to get them through the next couple of years in the black.

Looking to the past might give some clues. In the press release they put out back on October 3, 2006 when the purchased Lendal, they said buying the company is part of, “Johnson Outdoors’ strategic focus on acquisitions that complement its businesses and have market-leading potential [to] strengthen long-term profitability.”

Again, it’s all speculation so we will need to wait for some sort of official announcement sometime in the future.

If Lendal is going to go up for sale, the big question would is, who would be willing to take it over?

Over the past three years, Lendal’s market share has taken quite a beating. It’s no secret that Werner has taken over as one of the dominant players. Coupled that with the fact that there is no mention of Lendal in Johnson’s pre-season ordering information for stores (currently doesn’t look like they will be available for 2010); will speciality paddling shops continue to carry them once it all gets sorted out?

If anybody has more information about what is going on, let me know.

David Johnston

David Johnston

David Johnston has been introducing people to the sport of sea kayaking for the past 15 years. He is a senior instructor trainer with Paddle Canada and teaches for several paddling schools in Ontario, Canada. Full Bio.

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