How confident are bike retailers about trading over the next 12 months? See what the respondents of this year's BikeBizretail survey had to say. Read the first part of the survey online, on profits and competition and the second part - on finance and the 'Grand Depart effect' here.
5. What portion of your business do cycle to work sales represent?
For many retailers cycle to work does not represent a large chunk of sales (which is probably a good thing in view of its static £1,000 limit and in case the government decides to axe it), but nevertheless the figures show it remains a significant portion of business for many – in the main between one and 15 per cent, though it is worth noting the four per cent who said cycle to work sales constituted over 30 per cent of their total sales.
6. Is forward ordering getting harder?
Over the year we’ve heard from distributors and retailers alike that it’s getting tougher to predict how much stock you’ll need and when you’ll need it, indicating an end to the traditional consumer buying habits the trade has been familiar with. According to the results, most retailers believe it’s now tougher to ensure you’ve enough stock at the right time. Here are some of the anonymous responses to the question:
Retailer #1: “More bikes are now being ridden all year round, so demand of equipment is no longer seasonal.”
Retailer #2: “We do very little forward ordering, cash tied up because of a sudden downturn in sales of a particular product line could be disastrous.”
Retailer #3: “When I first came into the cycle trade 30 years ago, you could predict when you were going to sell more bikes. We have massive sales in July and December. Now it is impossible. All you can predict now is a slow September, slower October, a completely dead November and then come the new year, if the weather is mild you will have a busy February and March, if it is bad weather, you get the paint brushes out.”
7. How confident do you feel about trading in 2015?
Happily the vast majority of retailers are confident going into 2015. Many of those positive votes came with conditions, however, including “I think it will be static with very much effort” as well as multiple pleas for suppliers to try and combat the slashing of stock on the internet. Others acknowledged they “need to tighten things up” and “we all know the market is flat and has been for a few years. Hopefully a dryer winter will help with a good 2015”.
“Going from hand to mouth is difficult for me,” said one retailer: “It’s hard getting small amounts of stock quickly and with minimum postage”. Another added: “I think it will be a hard year again with more going to the wall.”
But, to reflect the majority of responses, let’s end on a positive note: “The way sales are going we should sell 50 per cent more bikes this year than last.”
Thank you to all the retailers who took to the polls for the BikeBiz Retail Survey 2014.
The results to the BikeBiz Retail Survey 2014 were first published in the latest edition of BikeBiz. You can download the December mag as a PDF or read it online.