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Endura expects to see long-term gains after Tour de France boost

A global showcase for its products on this year's Tour de France has been a great "brand perception" opportunity for the Scottish cyclewear company Endura - though it will probably be months or years before this translates into increased sales, the company has said.

The Livingston-based firm cemented its move into the top echelons of professional cycling by kitting out two of the 22 teams in this year's Tour de France. The tour, which began three weeks ago in Yorkshire with the Grand Depart, reaches its final stage in Paris today.

At the time of going to press, the Spanish Movistar team, which has Endura as its clothing supplier, was in third place and on track for a place on the podium.

Meanwhile, the Scottish-German Netapp-Endura team, which Endura supplies and is a name sponsor of, was in 13th place.

It has been an exceptionally good year for the West Lothian company as its high-tech clothes have, for the first time, been used in all three of the cycling world's top competitive events: the Vuelta a España, the Giro d'Italia and now the Tour de France. Global revenues are expected to reach £28 million for this financial year, against £2m seven years ago.

But although the opportunity to showcase the company's products on the biggest cycling stage of all will probably increase sales in the medium to long term, Endura's founder and managing director Jim McFarlane said he did not expect amateur cyclists to replace their kit immediately as a result of having seen Endura's professional range of clothes on the Tour.

He said: "Being involved in the Tour de France and other big events is important for making the public aware of our products and perception of the brand. This is about long-term and sustainable brand management, not about a one-season hit."

Endura is nevertheless expecting its highest growth year ever, with all of that growth being driven by exports - particularly in the US and Europe.

Founded in 1992, the company enjoyed steady but not spectacular growth during its first decade. But since 2006, growth moved up a gear and the company is now the UK's largest brand for mountain bike, road and commuter cycle clothing, and its product ranges are sold across Europe, Russia, Asia, Africa and the Americas.

McFarlane puts much of the company's success down to product innovation and attention to detail, including wind-tunnel testing of its professional clothing range.

The company, which employs 188 people around the world, of which 115 are in Scotland, invests a seven-figure sum each year on research and development.

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