Comment: trends and tribulations in the trade - BikeBiz

Comment: trends and tribulations in the trade

BikeBiz takes a look at the recent independent retail survey and its results
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Due to the way deadlines fell last month I didn’t have the chance to make complete sense of the findings of our recent independent retail survey - part one and part two. So better late than never, there’s a few points I’d like to discuss based on the feedback from our 100-strong panel of front line shops.

Let’s kick off with trends and sales points. 27 per cent, the largest fraction of the bunch, said that their store turns over £60,000 or more in clothing and accessory sales per year. That’s quite a substantial amount for a market that is now supposedly afraid of churning out clothing that would make us ‘look like cyclists’. With brands like Rapha commanding a strong following, the luxury end of this market seems to be doing rather good business. Perhaps this is an indication of why a brand like Brompton would release a £250 jacket. Brooks even manufactures a garment retailing for more than £850, which is presumably targeted at the banker with a bonus melting a hole in their gold-plated trousers.

Cycling increasingly seems to be drawing affluent customers with a taste for the finer things – middle aged men in lyrca, or MAMILs as they’re often called. And that brings me on to trends for the past year. The majority cited a notable increase in demand for road bikes (56.2 per cent) and sit up and beg style leisure bikes (41.6 per cent). From my perspective, that marked rise in leisure bikes correlates with the increased interest from female cyclists in recent years. Maintaining that trend through the less inspiring months is the challenge. Anyone got any tips to share?

There are visibly more cyclists tango-ing with the traffic nowadays, so no wonder suppliers selling out of key lines has once again cropped up as a concern to front line business. It’s a regular occurance for a thread to appear on the BikeBiz trade forum calling for spare units of a best-selling model, often thanks to supplier’s stock running dry. Nearly 40 per cent of respondents felt this to be one of many issues making turning a profit ever-more difficult.

Provided they turn a profit, investing in expanding the range of shop floor stock is of interest to many. On the flipside, for those who’re tossing around areas to trim the fat, 70 per cent said they’d choose stock levels, above all else, in order to retain cash. Suppliers have a bit of a balancing act with the current economic climate then?

The margin-rich workshop is almost unanimously more important, according to our survey. What could you do here with a little more resource?

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