Last January, poor weather proved enough to discourage shoppers from visiting the High Street – including hardened northerners as well as southern softies – and that had a direct effect on sales for many bike dealers up and down the land.
This time around the shops of Great Britain will also have a VAT rise to contend with, not to mention that austerity-driven economic climate. So, more frown lines and grey hairs due for bike retailers?
As ever in the cycle industry, there are plenty of reasons to be positive, with an optimistic spin for even the gloomiest news. Take the austerity drive, for example. It’s forcing many to rethink their travel choices and not to squander petrol quite so freely. The solution? Get on your bike.
And – despite a noticeable tail off over the last couple of months for independent dealers (see the ActSmart’s monthly analysis for more on that) bikes have, seemingly, had another strong year. Clearly the trade has not been immune to cut backs – you only have to look at the culling of Cycling England and the fact that cycling infrastructure will have to scrap for cash from the Local Sustainable Transport Fund.
But on the other hand, this year we’ve seen experienced retail giants – step forward Best Buy, Decathlon and Tesco – up their presence in UK bike retail. Cynics might argue that many have talked up the performance of the bike industry this year, but retail heavyweights don’t open stores for the sheer hell of it. It’s a clear sign that the market is just as attractive – nay more attractive – than it ever has been.
While we’re on the subject of attractiveness, I’d like to draw your attention (somewhat clunkily) to the brand new BikeBiz website. It’s a good looking site, especially compared with the more, erm, functional BikeBiz.com of the past.
It’s not just about having bigger pictures either. The site has been built from the ground up for the cycle industry, and has been craftily designed to adapt and evolve to the changing needs of us, you (the readers) and the trade at large. So expect more new features and handy stuff over the coming months from BikeBiz.com.
And while it might seem a little underhand to big up online in the pages of the magazine, the website and print publication are really just two of the different ways that the trade can read about, take part in and keep up to date with the bike business. If you haven’t logged on yet (where have you been?) head to our guide to find out more.