Dire weather dampens bike sales

On the bright side, sales of mudguards and rainwear are on the increase
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Cycling businesses across the country are reporting tough trading conditions largely thanks to the wet spring and start of summer.

Halfords openly pinpointed the weather as a key factor for a 9.6 per cent dip in cycling revenues in the first quarter. In the same Q1 report CEO David Wild announced his resignation from the retailer.

Evans Cycles too pointed to a footfall dip thanks to the poor conditions. Ben Hart, director of marketing and eCommerce at Evans said: “Unpredictable weather over the spring and summer has certainly had an impact on our customers and their interest in cycling. When the sun is shining customers respond, when it’s not then cycling decreases and it’s tougher to get customers to invest in new bikes and kit. On the upside, sales of mudguards and rainwear has seen stellar like for like growth.”

Brian Curran, owner of Pedalworks in Dunstable told BikeBiz that he had expected a combination of Olympic and Tour de France hype to motivate cyclists to spend big this summer, but this has so far failed to materialise.

“I can say that we had a poor May, but sales in June bounced back and were nearly double May’s levels. July has got off to a slow start though. I think that we all had very high expectations that the combination of weather, Brad and Cav and then London 2012 would provide a huge boost, but we haven’t really seen the take off yet. We’ve stocked up for a good summer and hope that it will be along soon. Maybe we’ll get out for a sunny ride or two ourselves.”

Robert Pollen, MD at Withington Cycles pointed to the workshop as the main driver of business at present.

He said: "Our turnover's down for the same period last year. Repairs have slowed down, though having said that, 75 per cent of what we do is repairs, bike sales are a bonus. There's a distinct lack of high sales and as a whole bike sales are down. I think it the same all over, the weather's not been great and has contributed to the decline, but I think there are other factors. Online sale types come in get sized up then buy online. Also guess people are tightening their belts. No one is running around spending large sums of money, that a recession, I guess."

Has your business been affected by the wettest summer for years? Are you overstocked with little hope of clearing bikes without a sale?
BikeBiz is interested in hearing your experiences via bikebiz@intentmedia.co.uk.

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