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Harley CEO says company no longer selling merchandise on Amazon

Gabrielle Coppola
Bloomberg

Most retailers fight for greater visibility on Amazon.com Inc.’s dominant platform. Harley-Davidson Inc. wants to get off of it.

The motorcycle maker is no longer selling branded apparel on the internet giant’s website because that’s undercutting sales at its own dealers, Jochen Zeitz, Harley’s chief executive officer, said in an interview.

“We want to have a fully integrated, digital e-commerce business with our dealers,” Zeitz said. “Amazon was not really something that got our dealers into the mix.”

Harley-Davidson CEO Jochen Zeitz.

A spokesperson for Amazon had no immediate comment.

Harley is not the first iconic brand to part ways with the online retailer. Nike Inc. made waves when it stopped selling sneakers and apparel on Amazon two years ago.

Read more: Nike Pulling Its Products From Amazon in E-Commerce Pivot

The Milwaukee-based company, which posted a surprise fourth-quarter loss Tuesday, is in the midst of a transformation as Zeitz tries to reignite growth after six years of slumping sales in the U.S., its largest market.

The CEO’s turnaround strategy for the 118-year-old manufacturer, dubbed “Hardwire,” is designed to strengthen the biker brand and its pricing power – not only with motorcycle sales but also in related components, accessories and premium apparel.

As part of that strategy, he created the role of chief digital officer to revamp the company’s online retail platforms.

Zeitz’s predecessor, Matt Levatich, who stepped down a year ago amid slumping sales and pressure from activist investors, rolled out a “digital storefront” on Amazon.com in October 2018. It was part of his “More Roads” plan to broaden Harley’s appeal and reach a new generation of riders.