Strax prepares to battle Kondor and 20:20 for accessories share


Accessories distributor plans to use European reach to fuel drive to re-establish itself in the UK and take a top-two spot

Accessories distributor Strax expects to become the second largest accessory distributor in the UK behind 20:20 Mobile within the next 18 months.

The German firm has recently re-established itself in the UK, having focused on its European business in recent years.

It currently has a share of around five per cent in the UK, compared with market leaders 20:20 Mobile (65 per cent) and Kondor (around 20 per cent).

Strax currently employs seven staff in the UK, but will add between five and 10 in the next nine months. Its UK team also receives close support in areas such as marketing and logistics from Strax’s headquarters in Cologne,which employs 70 staff.

Strax interim managing director Ingvi Tómasson (pictured) said the company is making an “aggressive push” in the UK and has signed supply deals with high street stores Argos, Staples, Harrods and, most recently, Phones 4U. It is also in talks with “several” network operators. Its brands include Belkin, Griffin, Beats, OtterBox, Jabra, RIM,

HTC, Nokia and Samsung. Tómasson said: “I would foresee that in 18 months it is going to be us and 20:20 as the top two in the UK. “You have 20:20, Kondor and Frequency – they are all doing a good job, but we are going to try to muscle our way in there.

“Before, we weren’t ready to lock horns with 20:20, as we simply didn’t have the firepower. But now we are solidly profitable and funded and feel we are ready to be a serious competitor, and we enjoy the competition.

“20:20 are solid incumbents, but we think we can be a legitimate good second source.

Strax has recently reoccupied a 12,000 square foot warehouse in St Albans, which it originally left in 2008 as its UK presence dwindled.

It will also look to leverage its experience in Europe – in Sweden, Germany and Switzerland it claims to command a top-two market share.

Its European reach also enables Strax to buy in accessories from a wide range of sources to cope with demand and adapt to market trends and changes.

The company has offices in Hong Kong and Shenzhen in China as well.

Tómasson said: “We can definitely compete with 20:20, and having an office in Hong Kong means we can source things rapidly. We are in a position of strength.