Bicycle retailers who have traditionally shook a fist at non-specialist stores stocking bikes now look set to have another, potentially more significant rival to consider – as the supermarkets make increasingly bold moves into bike retail.
With the grocery sector becoming ever-more competitive and the supermarket giants being forced to look at more profitable, non-food areas, a boom in the cycling market has proved too irresistible for the supermarkets to ignore. And, as reported on BikeBiz.com, Asda and Lidl have both launched an assault on the sector – with more moves likely.
Asda’s ‘profit-free bikes’ launch saw the introduction of the British Eagle range in June, with bikes priced from £50 for children’s models, up to £70 for adult bikes. The promotion highlighted Asda’s Pedal Power initiative, as a spokesperson told BikeBiz: “We are committed to getting more people on their bikes. Through our involvement in Pedal Power we hope that more families take up cycling; it is a low cost activity, a great way to stay healthy and we hope there is an increase in uptake.”
The grocer pledged that there will be enough stock to cope with huge anticipated demand: “We have tens of thousands of bikes available online and in store until August 9th. There certainly won’t be a shortage.”
Asda’s growing profile in cycling is down in part to the role of its chief executive officer: “Pedal Power was spearheaded by our CEO Andy Bond, who is a really keen cyclist. He wanted to make cycling an accessible activity, for families in particular. This is why we chose to forego the profit on the bikes to make it accessible for all.
“Pedal Power is all about getting people on their bikes and encouraging families to take up a new activity. It was launched by our CEO and Sir Chris Hoy, both of whom are united in their passion to raise its profile as an affordable mode of transport with inherent health and environmental benefits.”
The ACT has featured a build-up of the cheap Asda bike on a new blog.
HIGH-END, LOW PRICE
But the role of supermarkets in the UK bike market is not confined to budget models (or BSOs - 'bicycle shaped objects') as Lidl proved when it revealed that it would be retailing the Stratos Professional Racing Bike for £749.99 in its stores.
The Stratos marked the first time that national grocer Lidl had stocked a bike in its UK stores, with sales matching expectations for the retailer.
Lidl told BikeBiz that stocking the Stratos racing bike was in keeping with its mantra: “At Lidl our philosophy is to sell premium quality products at the lowest prices in our food and non-food ranges. The Stratos Racing Bike fits in very well with that proposition, as it really offers exceptional value for money.”
Lidl confirmed that it could lead to further cycling offers in future: “Our non-food offers are always great value and available while stocks last. We would certainly not rule out stocking another bike as long as it fulfils our buyers’ stringent quality requirements and offers premium value at a very low price.”