During November, BikeBiz gathered the thoughts of 95 independent bicycle retailers in the UK on a variety of topics. Here are just some of the resutls:
If you’ve made any cutbacks at all this year, where have they been?
Staff numbers/cutting hours or pay 31.5%
Seeking out competitive utility bills 49.3%
Overhead costs via premises move 12.3%
Stock levels 49.3%
Seeking cheaper courier options 27.4%
Cutting bike stocks to focus on repair business 17.8%
Comment: There won’t be a store in the country that hasn’t been spooked into cost-cutting exercises in these difficult financial times. And what better way to cut costs than to put the utility companies under pressure for more competitive rates. Near 50 per cent of you have.
Year-on-year, have you increased online business?
Decreased online business 6.9%
Grown it slightly 35.6%
Grown it significantly 8%
Doubled (or more) online trade 9.2%
Comment: Half of those independents surveyed have largely been inactive on the web front. There are, however, bold moves by a small minority who claim to have doubled their online trade in just 12 months. A further eight per cent state growth has been significant.
Do you foresee growth next year?
None forecast 7.6%
Depends on economic conditions 11.8%
Anticipate slight growth 27.8%
I'm optimistic of growth and feel it to be achievable 52.8%
Comment: Good to see a bit of optimism here. Under 20 per cent were pessimistic about what the next 12 months could hold. Three words: make it happen. Is your online presence as strong as it could be? Could you improve your marketing?
What will profit channelled back into the business be spent on?
Store security 9.0%
Staff wage or hiring 15.7%
New store 12.4%
Developing online trade 33.7%
Expanding stock 24.7%
Paying off loans/supplier debts 22.5%
Store vehicles 10.1%
Store redecorate/point of sale revamp 30.3%
Comment: Interestingly, despite a rough year for many stores in terms of theft, this is not a priority investment area. Boosting online business tops the pile and no wonder – EPoS firms are making it easier and easier for the IBD to sell securely online.
If you make a profit in this financial year, what percentage will be chanelled back into the business?
1% to 10% 16.2%
10% to 30% 33.1%
30% to 50% 16%
50% to 75% 10.6%
75% to 100% 24.1%
Comment: There are a few variables to take into account here, such as the worth of net profit made and the length of time a store has traded. Nonetheless, BikeBiz’s stats show the country’s IBDs to not be afraid of a little re-investment.