Rosker drops SteriPEN

‘Disagreement’ over decision to supply web-based discount retailer leads to ‘deterioration of relationship’

Specialist outdoor supplier Rosker has stopped distribution of the SteriPEN portable water purification line in the UK after a disagreement over the latter’s decision to supply the UK division of a discount internet retailer.

Rosker said it advised SteriPEN against any move to supply the unnamed online retailer, but that it opted to go ahead with a supply agreement nonetheless. This led to a deterioration in the relationship between the two and for Rosker to decide it could no longer represent SteriPEN in the UK and Ireland.

Rosker said it did not know if SteriPEN will now deal direct with the UK but added that it wished to ‘reassure existing customers that the stock they currently hold will be sold through in an orderly manner’.

“Once models have sold out Rosker will not be importing any further stock,” the distributor said in a statement. “Rosker will be contacting each customer who has placed orders for SteriPEN products to advise them what is in stock and is ready to be shipped.”

Rosker managing director Ralph White said: “We felt that strategically this was not in the best long-term interests of our customers or the brand in the UK.

“Recently, senior members of SteriPEN visited us in the UK and met with some of our leading dealers and heard points of view on the subject of supplying a discount internet retailer.   We believed we had convinced them this wasn’t a good strategy for the UK. Unfortunately, SteriPEN disagreed, met the UK division of this retailer without our knowledge and reached an agreement to supply them direct anyway.

“The internet has a valuable presence in the UK outdoor market and web-based sales are continually growing. We already supply many internet-specific retailers who have good business models that add value to the brands they sell, but in this case we felt that a discount internet retailer would put our existing dealers unfairly under threat.”

White added: “We have enjoyed representing SteriPEN and have built up the brand to become one of the leading water purification brands in the UK and Irish outdoor markets.

“It is with real regret that we felt we had to sever our trading relationship. We apologise unreservedly to our customers that supply will become disrupted but believe they will understand and approve of our decision.”