INDUSTRY OPINIONS: Christmas is coming...

The holiday season is just two months away and there are a million and one things that could generate bumper sales. So what will you be stocking up on way in advance? Mark Sutton talks to retail…
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“Christmas seems to be all about the junior bikes, for which I have plenty of Raleigh bikes lined up. I’ve put in a strong order hoping that they’ll sell through, but can afford to hold them in stock should they not go. The problem with the low-end sales is that many parents will happily look at what the multiples have to offer before they come to us, often meaning we are undercut on price.
“The weather has made for a difficult summer; in fact, following a strong few years from 2002 to 2006, things have become a lot more difficult in the past two years, so I hate to be pessimistic but it’s too hard to forecast accurately.
“I have a gut feeling that this Christmas will actually be worse than last year’s, which wasn’t great sales wise.
“One area that I do reserve my optimism for is the accessory market. With so many people digging their bikes out of the shed this summer, products such as locks, helmets and lights should sell well as gifts this Christmas.
“Naturally, I would love to sell a few Brompton bikes, as these will make me just as much money per sale as five low-end units and likely cause a lot less hassle down the line.”
John Hoskins, Ealing Cycles

“Christmas could be good for bikes as a result of the popularity after the Olympics. Despite the credit crunch, our summer sales are up. There is increasing awareness of green issues and the importance of exercise. What’s more likely to help sales is the fact that there is no big games console or anything like that due to come out and dominate people’s Christmas lists this year.
“Singlespeed bikes are particularly fashionable at the moment, so we expect requests from people looking to give their partners a new pride and joy. We’ve become a stockist of the Fuji track bikes and suspect sales will increase in time for the festive season. Charge bikes will also be popular, as always.
“Sales of commuter bikes around the £300-£400 range will increase as fuel prices and congestion have begun to affect daily travel.
“Accessory wise, products such as gloves, light sets and waterproof cycling jackets will be popular, particularly established brands such as Altura and Gore. The staple gift voucher will also be a popular choice as those relatives not tuned in to cycling will still want to get a gift for a cyclist.”
Claire Beaumont, Marketing Executive, Evans Cycles

“Let me just get my crystal ball out. We’ve just seen incredibly strong performance from the Kink brand, which shortly after landing is already selling well.
We’ll always consider a brand’s performance ahead of doing our Christmas orders.
“I would like to think that the new WeThePeople bikes will sell well as that’s a really strong brand at good prices. DK bikes also look strong this season.
“Colours have been strong for a long time now and that doesn’t look set to stop. Plenty of kids want to colour-match (or mash) their bikes as much as possible. Most brands now design around this.
“There’s always going to be competition from other industries, but I’d like to think we’re in a strong position this Christmas.”
Rich Townsend, Custom Riders, Letchworth

“We are planning our Christmas stock at the moment and erring on the side of caution this year, though the year to date has been terrific.
“Our opinion is that the bulk of Christmas shopping is frenetic, bikes or otherwise, so is done mainly from convenience places (so big High Street stores and internet sales will benefit). We are concentrating on personal safety and bike safety products and keeping the rest of our range pretty much as it is already.
“All the considered, higher-value sales, we’ll be encouraging early in December and putting bikes aside.
“Our products are at the
mid to quality end of the market and we’ll be avoiding the temptation to follow prices down, with the inevitable pressure that comes at Christmas to supply the cheap and frilly items that does no-one much good when they come back in January.”
John Simnett,
WizzBike, London

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