Reports that Evans Cycles is up for sale in the New Year have been exaggerated – so Evans has told BikeBiz this morning.
In fact Active - the majority shareholder since 2008 – is investing in the development of systems and infrastructure, people and the brand. Active has appointed strategic advisors to review how best to continue to develop the business and "among the options that will be considered is fresh investment in the business that will support the business’s growth ambitions".
In an official statement, the firm quotes CEO Nick Wilkinson: “We are committed to investing in UK cycling. My vision is for our brand to inspire more people to enjoy their riding. Whatever the outcome of our strategic review, that view of the future will stay the same.”
Evans Cycles started with a single south London independent bike shop which opened in 1921. Wilkinson joined the business in 2011: “We now employ 1200 people but have retained our independent roots – pretty much everyone working here is a cyclist, our workshops keep cyclists on the road all year round, we organise riding events every weekend of the year, and we stock the best global brands. We’re a retail brand full of authenticity and passion, and at the same time a modern business: we have built a large and dynamic online channel representing over 30% of sales, we are winning awards for our advertising and store designs, and we design our own bikes.”
Evans Cycles is experiencing very strong double digit growth with revenue of circa £150m forecast for the current financial year.
Commenting on the opportunity for Evans Cycles, the retailer's boss said: “UK cycling is booming, and the UK’s cyclists deserve a high quality specialist that can offer them unrivalled range, knowledge, convenience and value for money. We are very positive about the outlook for UK cycling: there are 8.7 million adult cyclists, but that’s just 16.9% of the adult population, and only a fifth of them cycle at least once a week.”
Current majority shareholder Active is a private equity firm who acquired the business in 2008 and also has significant investments in Rapha, Leon Restaurants, Deliverance and Finisterre.