In a move that has sent shockwaves through the motorcycle industry, Bell Helmets’ parent company Vista Outdoor Action Sports has announced that it will shut down Bell Helmets’ headquarters in Scott’s Valley, California, on September 1, 2023.
This comes as part of a USD50 million (RM220 mil) cost-cutting and earnings improvement program that includes significant staff layoffs and headcount reductions across its brands and corporate teams.
The decision to shut down the Bell – and Giro Helmets’ – headquarters is expected to have a major impact on the marketing, brand, and creative departments, with many employees facing heavy losses. However, Vista Outdoor Action Sports president Jeff McGuane has assured customers that the move will not impact the separate brand identities under Vista Outdoor’s umbrella.
“We are accelerating the merger between Bell, Blackburn, Copilot, Fox, Giro, Krash, and Raskullz,” McGuane told Bicycle Retailer and Industry News.
“Plans are underway to unite our teams at the current Fox offices, which will soon be transformed into a revamped Innovation Center that unites our teams under one roof while honoring each brand’s culture and ethos, which are unique, valued, and untouchable.”
The decision to shut down the Bell and Giro Helmets’ headquarters comes after a series of slumping sales in key areas for Vista Outdoor. Despite a revenue increase of 34 percent compared to the same period the previous year, gross profit still declined by 15 percent, operating expenses rose by 16 percent, and earnings before interest and taxes fell by 39 percent.
In the SEC filing, Vista Outdoors also cites “elevated retail inventory levels, rising interest rates, and inflation” as contributing factors. McGuane hoped to reassure customers by stating that the merger wouldn’t impact the separate brand identities under Vista Outdoor’s umbrella.
Nevertheless, the decision to shut down the Bell and Giro Helmets’ headquarters is a major blow to the cycling industry, and many will be watching closely to see how this story develops.