2008 review - part four: October to December

BikeBiz looks at the stories that made the front pages and got the trade talking in 2008...
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OCTOBER - The first ever BikeBiz awards took place in October. Bob Chicken scooped the Industry Acheivement Award, with BikeRadar, Sustrans, Rouleur and USE Exposure all winning accolades at the virtual event.

Other winners on the day included DMR, Madison, Hope Technology, Hot Wheels, Extra UK and Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative. Condor Cycles, CRC and Halfords also received awards, voted for by a panel of industry judges.

October also saw claims from the AA that motorists are turning to cycling and away from their cars. But in less positive news, the UK manufacturing industry recorded its sharpest
decline in 17 years. Bizarrely, Cycling England found that fears of ‘helmet hair’ put 27 per cent of women off cycling, while Velorbis entered the tricycle arena and Zyro signed an exclusive deal with Prologo.

NOVEMBER - With Christmas looming and concerns on the High Street over how sales might suffer in view of economic gloom, the Government took ‘extraordinary measures’ and cut VAT. The move wasn’t universally praised, with many questioning the value of the move to the UK’s economy. Inflation did drop in November though and Halfords saw an increase in turnover and electric bikes sales continued to surge.

November also saw Transport for London launching a safety campaign to protect cyclists. Ironically, in the same month the GLA unveiled plans to allow motorcycles to use bus lanes, a move that angered cyclists over fears that the area wouldn’t be as cyclist-friendly as in the past.

Tweeter was also on the trade’s lips, or fingertips, as the
new social site to keep in touch with the rest of the industry.

DECEMBER - The last month of the year saw the bike industry grapple with the worrying economic climate; Greyville announced it would hold prices for Christmas, while Evans cut prices by five per cent. Internationally, China raised export subsidies to keep bikes buoyant.

And in the crucial trading month, pundits remained generally upbeat for the cycling trade. Cycle shows were selling out, while biking emerged as one of the big hopes to keep the economy ticking over.

It was a tale of mixed fortunes for retail chains though. Outside the industry Woolworths’ fortunes took a tumble, while within sales dipped for JJB. In contrast Halfords expanded its High Street offering by unveiling its ‘independent’ Republic shops.

December also saw Madison acquire Saracen and Chris Hoy
helped the industry end the year on a high by winning BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Over to you
So did we miss anything in our summary of 2008? Which stories stood out for you? Head on over to the BikeBiz forum to voice your opinion...

Click here for the first part of the 2008 review, covering January to March.

Click here for the second part of the 2008 review, covering April to June.

Click here for the third part of the 2008 review, covering July to September.

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