One in ten shops to close, but IBDs safe

Bicycle retailers won’t be among those worst affected as independent retail struggles during economic downturn
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UK shop vacancies are expected to rocket to 90,000 by the end of this year – its highest ever level – but the good news is that bicycle retailers are not expected to be most at risk.

The report, put together by global business services firm Experian, said that one in ten shops are expected to be empty by 2010.

The report follows a seemingly continual stream of downcast predictions and glum news headlines for the High Street over past months, not least of all the news that the country officially fell into recession during January, which was
announced by the National Office of Statistics.

While the bike trade is not immune to current economic troubles, it is far from being the worst at risk, according to research outfit Experian.

“Although leisure retailers will also suffer from the slowdown in spending, specialist stores such as bicycle shops are not likely to be among the most at risk to failure,” Experian spokesperson Bruno Rost told BikeBiz.

“Regular bicycle users will still maintain and upgrade their bikes, whilst consumer awareness of green issues, rising living costs and Government-backed initiatives will help to sustain demand,” Rost added.

Geographical location is thought to be a major factor in how badly the vacancies will affect an area – with smaller market towns anticipated to be the worst hit. Those areas currently have a vacancy rate of seven per cent, which is anticipated to rise to ten per cent by the end of February, peeking at 15 per cent by the end of the year – equating to a total of 135,000 outlets nationwide.

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