Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers Starts 2004 With Largest Auction Ever

Tue February 24, 2004 - National Edition

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (BUSINESS WIRE) Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers conducted its largest sale in company history to date last week at its permanent auction site in Orlando, FL, generating over US$64 million in gross auction sales.

"It was an amazing sale," said Gary Seybold, regional manager of Ritchie Bros. "Bidding was very active and prices were strong. With more than 2,600 lots, our yard was full of good quality, late model construction equipment and trucks. We’re very proud of how smooth everything went, especially being the largest auction in company history."

The unreserved auction, held Feb. 17 to 20, attracted 4,504 bidders from 46 countries and 50 U.S. states. Approximately 85 percent of the equipment was purchased by buyers from outside of Florida, including 29 percent purchased by buyers from outside the United States.

A record 857 people –– 19 percent of total bidders –– registered to bid in real-time for the Florida sale using the rbauctionBid-Live Internet bidding service. They represented only a small fraction of the rbauction.com Web site visitors during the four-day period.

From Feb. 17 to 20, an average of 18,000 unique visitors per day came to the Ritchie Bros. Web site. During the sale days, they conducted 148,000 searches of equipment in upcoming auctions, performed 11,000 searches of historical selling prices, and accessed details on upcoming Ritchie Bros. auctions.

"This event reconfirmed our decision to pursue a bricks and clicks strategy. While we were very happy with the tremendous online participation –– people buying from as far away as Kuwait, Australia, and the United Kingdom –– the majority of our business continues to come from customers who travel to the auction site," said Bob Armstrong, vice president of Internet Services of Ritchie Bros. Auctioneers.

"The vast majority of our bidders still choose to attend our auctions in person and physically inspect the equipment; but, the rbauctionBid-Live service and the depth of information available on the rbauction.com web site have enabled us to expand our bidding audiences, creating an environment where Internet bidders and live bidders compete against each other on a level playing field - this is the best of both worlds for bidders as well as consignors," added Armstrong.

Twenty-five upcoming unreserved auctions are scheduled for March. Details on upcoming auctions and equipment for sale are listed on the www.rbauction.com web site.