Following a five-year hiatus, Halfords has relaunched the Cycle Republic chain with the first of “as many as 100 nationwide” opening in Euston.
Stocking over 1,000 lines not currently present in Halfords, Cycle Republic has a number of differences to its parent company, according to new director Peter Kimberly, himself a daily cyclist.
Talking to BikeBiz, he said: “We’ve spent plenty of time picking ranges, focusing largely on accessible pricing, but with a smattering of performance gear. We’ve a good depth of women’s product, with the likes of Pendleton, Carrera, Boardman and Tifosi offering bikes. I’d like to think we’ve the largest range of women’s product in London at this time.”
The depth of stock is perhaps best shown on a wall dedicated to helmets, with Halfords’ own label Ridge line, starting at £15 stacked alongside top-end lids from Catlike, LAS and Giro.
In the workshop, mechanics are trained to Halfords Gear 3 standard, something we’re told is the equivalent of a Cytech qualification. Training takes place in a specially kitted out workshop environment as part of a four day induction into the business. For the first time, there will also be the creation of a Workshop Manager role.
“On the workshop front we’ve decided to offer courtesy Carrera Subway loans for any job where the customer’s requirements will take over 24 hours,” said Kimberly. “It’ll be very personal service, with MOT style report sheets on each service. Our three teir packages come in at £30, £50 and £80, with the cheapest ensuring the bike is safe for the road and the top package offering a full disassembly down to the bearings and re-grease.”
Cycle Republic branches, like the Euston and the Margaret Street branch to open this month, will generally cover around 3,000 square feet and will employ around 16 to 20 staff each. Should Halfords aim for the ‘potential 100’, the chain could end up with upwards of 1,600 staff nationwide.
Kimberly also told BikeBiz: “We’ve just signed four or five new branches, so they’re a definite, with the Margaret Street basement location currently being designed. We’re focusing largely on areas with a high cycling population to begin with. Stores won’t necessarily all look the same. We’ll grow carefully alongside key commuter routes and we’ve some exciting ideas – Tube vending machines, ladies nights and many more plans are currently being talked about.”
Halfords currently commands an estimated 22 per cent share of the bike retail market, with cycling making up around 38 per cent of the retailers business.