LEKI doesn't want to be associated with Walmart either.
The skiing and trekking pole maker today announced that it has withdrawn its products from the big box discounter's premium outdoor store curated by Moosejaw. The brand is the fourth we've confirmed to drop out behind Katadyn and Deuter, and Black Diamond.
The move came after LEKI executives held discussions with dealers and other trusted partners in the industry, according to a press release.
“LEKI has and always will believe in the value of our trusted dealer relationships, which are the foundation of our brand,” said Greg Wozer, VP of LEKI USA. “We have a long history of retail programs and policies that clearly show deference to specialty outdoor retailers."
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A Walmart spokesperson said they don’t have anything additional to share. The company issued a statement last week on behalf of Walmart and Moosejaw after Black Diamond sent Walmart a cease and desist notice.
BD has alleged that Walmart infringed upon copyrights by using brand logos and product images without an agreement, which would "likely confuse consumers."
In that statement, the spokesperson said that in addition to being excited about the new initiative at a time when the outdoor industry is working to expose more people to the outdoors, “The decision to be part of this new experience will continue to be up to each brand.”
Earlier this year, LEKI discovered a handful of its products listed on Walmart.com by non-related retailers. LEKI contacted Moosejaw—bought last year by Walmart—to resolve the issue within a few days. Moosejaw's help was a "testament to the partnership and long-standing relationship between vendor and retailer since 2007," according to the release.
Then in late July, Moosejaw proposed to LEKI the premium outdoor store platform, which was expected to present the Michigan-based retailer on a bigger stage with assurances in place consistent with LEKI policies. Products would be sold at competitive prices.
“LEKI made the decision to support Moosejaw’s efforts based on their years as a highly-trusted and established specialty retail partner that was able to offer an unmatched brand-friendly 3P platform,” Wozer said.
But with Walmart hosting the microsite, LEKI received immediate feedback from partners in the industry who were concerned about pairing the high-quality brand within the big-box platform. There is no separate tab for the microsite on Walmart's homepage. Instead, it's incorporated with Walmart's other inventory.
“The image gap between our LEKI brand and the Walmart name proved to be something that even the premium reputation of Moosejaw was not able to bridge,” Wozer said.