I was talking with a well respected bike retailer local to me the other day and found out that we can look for significant increases in Shimano stuff this next season.
Seems thay are changing the marketing strategies a bit and are fixing the bottom end retail prices so that a retailer must charge X ( minimum )amount or lose Shimano product lines. And the new price list that he showed me was outrageous. I'll be looking seriously at alternatives to Shimano.
Of course it works out good for LBS in that online marketers are subject to the same minimums. The consumer loses on this deal however.