Cycling props up the High Street - BikeBiz

Cycling props up the High Street

Bike shops target growth while other retail sectors struggle to continue trading in 2012
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In a two month period that has seen numerous retail businesses go to the wire, cycling’s High Street chains have revealed plans to expand in the face of the toughest prolonged economic period in years.

Already this year Past Times, La Senza and Peacocks have fallen into administration, following Hawkin’s Bazaar, Barratts and D2 Jeans in December 2011. 

Despite being just over one month into 2012, Cycle Surgery has revealed it will be opening at least three new shops in the UK this year, while Evans Cycles is also due to open at least one more shop in the near future.

“At Cycle Surgery we continue to set ourselves new challenges, goals and objectives,” commented Cycle Surgery marketing manager Jonathan Sharpe. “During these challenging economic times, we continue to experience strong growth, and are pleased to be able to open new stores in key locations.”

Evans Cycles’ director of marketing and ecommerce Ben Hart commented: “We've got a confirmed store opening for 2012 in Edinburgh set for this spring. There are no other confirmed store openings at present but we are assessing opportunities – economic and trading outlook permitting – but the plan is to keep expanding our retail footprint in a sustainable way.”

The growth of Cycle Surgery has seen it reach 27 stores (see below) from just six London outlets in 2007. In 2010 the brand combined with Runners Need and Snow+Rock following a Management Buy Out, backed by LGC Capital. 

In January, Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative revealed it was planning to double in size in five years, increase turnover to £20 million by 2017 and increase staffing to nearly 300.

MD Jeremy Miles told The Scotsman: “There are a lot of changes going on at the moment, there are a lot of private equity firms coming into the cycling industry. The real opportunity is in places like London, Birmingham and Bristol.”

Despite their continued positive exploits on the High Street, both Cycle Surgery and Evans Cycles noted the continued importance of other retail channels.

Sharpe said: “Cycle Surgery’s growth developing and improving our e-commerce and multi channel media platforms, ensures our online customers receive the best retail experience possible.”

Evans’ Hart commented: “The other area of focus for us in 2012 is our multichannel offering – more products and more services online. We launched a mobile site in December and plan to integrate this closely with our online offering in-store for the coming year.

“We are also focusing on service and customer satisfaction across the business, whichever channel a customer comes into contact with us,” Hart added.

UK cycle retailers in numbers
-Halfords – 462 (inc Republic of Ireland)
-Evans Cycles – 46
-Cycle Surgery – 27 (including newly announced stores)
-Cycle King – 24
-Cycles UK – 16
-Leisure Lakes – seven

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