Mountain Designs Closing Down

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Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby casey79 » Mon 08 Jan, 2018 10:37 am

After a couple of weeks of crazy fire sale like discounts (40-80% of everything some below cost) I went to my local MD's at Warringah Mall yesterday and they are closing down on Wednesday.

It looks like the slow like the slow death of MD's has come to the end and they are closing down with accounts for the Brisbane-based head company, Mountain Designs Holdings, showing a $7 million loss for the group in fiscal 2016, according to accounts filed with regulators. http://www.couriermail.com.au/business/ ... 7e9cca403a

Sad end to what was once a great brand :(
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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby Moondog55 » Mon 08 Jan, 2018 11:34 am

That's what you get when you abandon your core market and chase the quick dollar. You employ fashion designers and not climbers and bushwalkers
I haven't bought anything at MDs since I had all the trouble with the mattress and the sallopettes 4 years ago, not even socks or jocks
Ve are too soon old und too late schmart
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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby Zapruda » Mon 08 Jan, 2018 12:28 pm

Moondog55 wrote:That's what you get when you abandon your core market and chase the quick dollar. You employ fashion designers and not climbers and bushwalkers
I haven't bought anything at MDs since I had all the trouble with the mattress and the sallopettes 4 years ago, not even socks or jocks


It's sad but true. Some of their older gear was fantastic and now they sell trendy flannels and heavy sleeping bags that aren't functional at all.

They sell a $600 Gore-Tex jacket for skiing that wont even allow you to fit a helmet under the hood for *&^%$# sake.
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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby wallwombat » Mon 08 Jan, 2018 7:05 pm

Rick White would be rolling in his grave.
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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby ILUVSWTAS » Mon 08 Jan, 2018 9:10 pm

Moondog55 wrote:That's what you get when you abandon your core market and chase the quick dollar. You employ fashion designers and not climbers and bushwalkers
I haven't bought anything at MDs since I had all the trouble with the mattress and the sallopettes 4 years ago, not even socks or jocks



Yep, also agree.
Nothing to see here.
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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby Neo » Mon 08 Jan, 2018 10:56 pm

Only thing I picked up from a MtD store was a golden emergency blanket, because it was golden not silver.
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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby andrewa » Mon 08 Jan, 2018 11:08 pm

I had a great time working part time ( whilst at uni) in MDs in the early 80's, when gear design was going forwards at great speed, and MDs were right up there with some really great extremely well designed gear.

And, yes, they've now gone for the fashion brigade......as have Kathmandu, but the latter seems to be going OK ( yep, none of us would ever pay full price at Kathmandu), but Kathmandu have seemed to have produced a middle of the range "brand", which perpetuates them.

Whilst I make most of my own gear these days, I would source anything else from cottage manufacturers, as I'm after minimal weight high end stuff, and none of the locals sell much of that now.

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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby Earthling » Tue 09 Jan, 2018 11:59 am

Sad to see them go, I used to keep an eye on their clearance range and picked up some sweet deals for work clothing.

Some cheap thermals and equipment currently.

Just bought 5 of their Super Dry 16 1/4 Zip tops, wont be Arcteryx quality, but good whilst renovating the house :).

Pity I don't have a spare few hundred for a new Suunto :(
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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby wayno » Tue 09 Jan, 2018 3:06 pm

kathmandu have always been a brand for the mainstream population, backpackers, travellers.... and now casual wear, they are well established in a market they have always been in.
Its different when you start out being an outdoors brand for bushwalkers and then trying to grab the rest of the population in your target market.... you stand to loose your original market in the process because you are moving away from yur original core busines,
are you able to market yourself effectively for that market and take the market share in the new market?
its a real risk.
kmandu were making more specific alpine gear in the past but moved away from that to stick to their original knitting.
the MD shop i went to when they were in NZ was a tiny shop that crammed everything in, nothing like the spacious layout of kmandu shops...
kmandu were originally bad quality but have improved a fair bit. although sizing isnt for the leaner athletic people, more suited to the well built population....
from the land of the long white clouds...

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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby RonK » Tue 09 Jan, 2018 6:51 pm

It may be a bit soon to assert that Mountain Designs are closing down.

The story posted in the OP is behind a paywall so I cannot read it, but of the two stories I can find in the Courier Mail (both published in the last two days), one says Mountain Designs is closing 13 of 39 stores.

The other reports on the company's accounts, but also explicitly states that "The company is still operating and not in administration."

I think the criticism of MD is unfair. The climbing and bushwalking market in Australia is small. Any company both manufacturing and retailing in this market has no choice but to diversify into the travel market or perish. And on the solely retailing side it's not hard to tot up a list of operators that have already closed the doors.

Try to naming another Australian company (or any company for that matter) that is both a manufacturer and a national bricks-and-mortar retailer to only the bushwalking/hiking/climbing market.

And then of course Rick White's former climbing partner (Tim Maccartney-Snape) started his own gear company (SeaToSummit), and has managed to achieve global market penetration while avoiding running a retail operation, which effectively cut MD out of these markets.

And not to forget that MD has been broke before, when Rick White was at the helm, and that saw him forced out of the company for a long time.

My wife and I have been associated with the trekking/climbing world for thirty years and through industry discounts have accumulated an immense amount of gear from many different manufacturers. We have quite a lot of MD gear which we still use to this day and have had few issues of any kind with any of it.
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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby Moondog55 » Tue 09 Jan, 2018 7:34 pm

Point taken but I disagree They did totally ignore good design for climbers and walkers and it got worse over the last decade
My critique of the designs of some of the gear I purchased which proved totally unfit for use in its intended climate was met with clear disbelief but an offer to test the new product and offer design input was never carried forward
Actually this applied to several items for which I paid full retail and had to return for refunds.
Ve are too soon old und too late schmart
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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby casey79 » Wed 10 Jan, 2018 2:35 pm

RonK wrote:It may be a bit soon to assert that Mountain Designs are closing down.

The story posted in the OP is behind a paywall so I cannot read it, but of the two stories I can find in the Courier Mail (both published in the last two days), one says Mountain Designs is closing 13 of 39 stores.

The other reports on the company's accounts, but also explicitly states that "The company is still operating and not in administration."

I think the criticism of MD is unfair. The climbing and bushwalking market in Australia is small. Any company both manufacturing and retailing in this market has no choice but to diversify into the travel market or perish. And on the solely retailing side it's not hard to tot up a list of operators that have already closed the doors.

Try to naming another Australian company (or any company for that matter) that is both a manufacturer and a national bricks-and-mortar retailer to only the bushwalking/hiking/climbing market.

And then of course Rick White's former climbing partner (Tim Maccartney-Snape) started his own gear company (SeaToSummit), and has managed to achieve global market penetration while avoiding running a retail operation, which effectively cut MD out of these markets.

And not to forget that MD has been broke before, when Rick White was at the helm, and that saw him forced out of the company for a long time.

My wife and I have been associated with the trekking/climbing world for thirty years and through industry discounts have accumulated an immense amount of gear from many different manufacturers. We have quite a lot of MD gear which we still use to this day and have had few issues of any kind with any of it.


Word from the Kent St staff is that a majority of the staff have been given the flick, with only 3 being kept on to close the store out. Looks like the regional and suburban stores are closing quickly, the flagship CBD have a month or so left, online a few months.

Still unknown if MD's have been or will be sold and come back as "new" MD's, a new retailer or the brand joining a established retailer range?
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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby slparker » Wed 10 Jan, 2018 3:13 pm

I went into a regional store yesterday. Stock is being cleared pretty rapidly (it looks like they are closing down to me) and there are bargains to be had. Not all their gear is poor quality but, admittedly, some is bizarre ( a wool stuffed puffy? - it's as heavy as it sounds....).

I felt like a vulture picking a carcass clean.
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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby wildwanderer » Wed 10 Jan, 2018 5:11 pm

Tend to agree with RonK's point that Mountain Designs had to get into the travel market. Serious bushwalking/climbing market is not big enough to sustain several chain store operations. I just hope Paddy Pallin is not next. I love that store/brand.

For my 2 cents, what killed (or is killing) Mountain Designs is the Australian online stores (and to lesser extent the overseas ones). Online stores offer 2-3 day shipping (usually) and huge variety of stock at heavily discounted prices. It’s hard to beat. Plus, you have newer entrants like uniglo which make great outdoor and travel clothing and they sell them cheap. And lets not forget allot of casual bushwalkers shop at Kathmandu.

I subscribe to a number of Australian outdoor retail store newsletters and its obvious they are all struggling. Every week there is a sale on. It’s just dam hard to compete with online.
I admit I do buy online but I also frequently buy from the bricks and mortar stores such as Paddy’s and occasionally MD, Macpac, Trek and Travel and Mountain Equipment.
I don’t mind paying a 10%-20% premium for some things as I find the service especially at Paddy Pallin and Mountain Equipment to be excellent and it’s great to be able to try things on, make sure they fit etc.

Long term I think the only way Australian bricks and mortar retail stores will survive is
a) Work out a way to get rid of the wholesaler/importer and negotiate direct with the manufacturer.
b) Once the AI technology catches up, employ less people and go with automated checkouts. Have a couple of human gear experts hovering around to help fit backpacks/shoes but mainly rely on 'google home' style AI stations at various points at the store to answer questions. (It’s a future I hate, because of the job losses and I think this whole AI thing will be the complete death of privacy, stifle creativity and maybe ultimately end the human race :lol: :( )
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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby Neo » Wed 10 Jan, 2018 5:47 pm

Been in the Blueys a lot last year and really like Paddy's there. Is some kind of partner/franchise setup.
Also like Summit Gear :)

I tend to cruise the gear shops if they're around, but quickly didn't bother with MD or Macpac.
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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby Neo » Wed 10 Jan, 2018 5:52 pm

I keep getting 'end of year sale' emails from MD.
Prices are now accurate ie T-shirt two for $10, thermals two for $50.

Maybe that's the road to success instead of the Kathmandu 400-800% markup..? (decent over-populated-cheap-labour-source gear at a smaller markup)
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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby wildwanderer » Thu 11 Jan, 2018 3:31 pm

Went into the kent st store today in Sydney. Sure looks like they are closing down.

Pretty much everything is atleast 50% off. The store is being picked clean. But youd want to be quick to get stuff in smaller sizes. Mostly larger sizers remain.

There are some suunto watches still there (50% off) not many but if your quick pick up a bargain.
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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby Earthling » Fri 12 Jan, 2018 11:17 pm

wildwanderer wrote:There are some suunto watches still there (50% off) not many but if your quick pick up a bargain.


Picked up a Suunto Core for $140, normally $350. Also picked up a Black Diamond Cosmo for $26, normally $65.
Bargains galore at the Bunbury Store :)
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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby rcaffin » Sat 13 Jan, 2018 11:42 am

Last time I was in an MD store must have been 15+ years ago. Even then I got the impression that they did not know what market they were aiming at. Everything was $$$, and they seemed to be trying to sell last decade's heavy-weight gear into today's lighter-weight market. Ah well.

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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby tele-whippet » Sat 13 Jan, 2018 4:13 pm

https://www.facebook.com/nordicskiclubn ... 3830794852
Paddy Pallin Jindabyne closing next weekend!!
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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby iaindtiler » Sat 13 Jan, 2018 6:36 pm

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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby Moondog55 » Sun 14 Jan, 2018 6:20 am

I never thought that they shouldn't cater for tourists and travelers, that is a big market and usually highly profitable but you can do that and still not abandon the core market that gave the name its reputation in the first place.
My own problems with the brand was simply the fit of the clothing combined with poor design in the small detail.
It went from a generous sizing with broad shoulders, decent back length and long sleeves to fit Australian bodies to the typical Chinese factory fit of short arms and short body length and the brands XL was really a medium because they made no allowance for layering when sizing the stuff, this says to me that the people buying and designing the clothing were no longer skiers and climber or walkers and to me that is the definition of abandoning your core market.
The same thing has happened to The North Face and other conglomerate brands.
The same comments apply in general to the sales staff too [ not just MDs either] they are now salespeople first and you no longer got or have expert advice on gear because they simply were not climbers. skiers or walkers any more
Ve are too soon old und too late schmart
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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby gbagua » Mon 15 Jan, 2018 9:46 am

RonK wrote:It may be a bit soon to assert that Mountain Designs are closing down.

The story posted in the OP is behind a paywall so I cannot read it, but of the two stories I can find in the Courier Mail (both published in the last two days), one says Mountain Designs is closing 13 of 39 stores.

The other reports on the company's accounts, but also explicitly states that "The company is still operating and not in administration."

I think the criticism of MD is unfair. The climbing and bushwalking market in Australia is small...


+1

People criticise heavily and unfairly and they quickly forget that Australia is not the US, UK, France or Italy. For heaven’s sake we don’t have serious mountains here let alone this activity being more mainstream like in Europe or North America. Australia is way more associated with surfing than rock climbing.

Most people in Brisbane never hear of Mt Barney!! Ask a Swiss or an Italian if they know what the Matterhorn or Cervino is? They even are likely to tell you who was the first ascent party. :)
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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby Moondog55 » Mon 15 Jan, 2018 9:56 am

Australia tho is VERY close to the highest and toughest mountain ranges in the world and those of us who dreamed of high, cold. white places used to go to the original MD stores and drool over the gear that used to be made. My old Everest duvet is still one of the best climbing parkas ever sewed up and I bought it over 30 years ago.
It was this loss of direction most of us mourned, the singleton suits of the same era ditto sleeping bags the same good design and execution. After this they started to become much less practical and much heavier, cheaper perhaps but not as good as the stuff of which my dreams were made at the time
Ve are too soon old und too late schmart
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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby gbagua » Mon 15 Jan, 2018 2:45 pm

Moondog55 wrote:My old Everest duvet is still one of the best climbing parkas ever sewed up and I bought it over 30 years ago...


Only your old jacket? How about everything else?

http://bit.ly/2D68ttV
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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby Moondog55 » Mon 15 Jan, 2018 2:59 pm

Not sure because my kids snaffled all the other good stuff, although the Foxhole bivvy needs a recoat on the urethane coated base and after the Everest trip got called off due to sudden impending family I sold a lot of stuff to Joe Friend
Ve are too soon old und too late schmart
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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby Dexter » Sun 28 Jan, 2018 9:36 am

Mountain Designs in Moorabbin now gone. It actually makes me quite sad.

I’m going to brave the heat today and head to the CBD store to see if there’s anything worth grabbing. I wouldn’t mind betting they’re all going to close eventually.


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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby GPSGuided » Sun 28 Jan, 2018 2:59 pm

MD in Birkenhead Point (Sydney) is still well stocked at present. No sign of closing down just yet. Not sure what its future holds.
Just move it!
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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby nezumi » Sun 28 Jan, 2018 3:56 pm

The Little Bourke St store in Melbourne was looking pretty sad when I went in last week. Upstairs was almost empty, and downstairs was full of handwritten signs, "2 for $20", "S2S sporks, $1.50 ea" etc.
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Re: Mountain Designs Closing Down

Postby Dexter » Sun 28 Jan, 2018 7:01 pm

Yeah the Melb CBD store is closing for sure. I grabbed some Keen shoes (last of my size of any shoe in the store) for $75 down from $220. My girlfriend grabbed a sleeping bag, mostly for car camping, for $167 down from $420. Great savings but it’s sad to see happen. They still looked to have a fair range of hard shells.

Oh I grabbed a Muncher tool as well. Pretty cool little gadget.




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