Burlington, VT (December 5, 2007)— Burton Snowboards today announced that it will implement several new measures to prevent gray marketing throughout its distribution networks in North America, Europe and Japan. As a result of snowboarding’s tremendous growth and popularity, gray marketing is beginning to plague the snowboarding industry and has now reached into the online world as well.
Burton’s new policies were already put to the test this season when unauthorized products were uncovered in the U.S.-based Costco chain and at discount online retailer Overstock.com. In addition, unauthorized European dealers were found with product that originated in the U.S. Burton acted immediately to discover the sources of these sales and terminated two U.S. accounts. Two additional accounts are currently under investigation and will likely be terminated. In one case, Burton purchased hundreds of snowboards back from Costco at its own expense.
“Gray marketing damages the image of snowboarding, says Clark Gundlach, General Manager of Burton Snowboards. “It weakens the brand, cuts our ability to reinvest in R&D and quickly kills specialty retail relationships that we’ve worked so hard to build.
In order to protect its authorized distribution network, Burton has set up aggressive efforts to trace and identify the sources of gray market products. Recently, the company enlisted the help of professional investigative companies to track down gray marketers, and encourages its authorized dealer network to report any suspected gray marketers. Products found in unauthorized global distribution channels are traced back to the authorized dealerships outside of that market and terminated.
About Burton Snowboards
In 1977, Jake Burton Carpenter founded Burton Snowboards out of his Vermont barn. Since then, Burton has fueled the growth of snowboarding worldwide through its groundbreaking product lines, its grassroots efforts to get the sport accepted at resorts and its team of top snowboarders. In 1996, Burton began growing its family of brands to include board sports equipment and apparel brands. Privately held and owned by Jake, Burton’s headquarters are in Burlington, Vermont with international offices in Innsbruck, Austria and Tokyo, Japan. For more information, visit www.burton.com