Words by an anonymous UK retailer
“Bike sales have not been static for us, we’ve had some highs which can primarily be attributed to cycle to work business, but that has tailed off now quite a bit and as we are in a relatively rural location we don’t have lots of big employers on our doorstep.
Some local, big employers who used to be with Cyclescheme have now linked with another provider so that means no business for us. Our local Council, thankfully, are still with Cyclescheme but the take up rate has slowed.
In terms of sales we’ve been static the last two years but overall basing it on a six-year period we are down 18 per cent.
These are our year-on-year figures (year end Aug 2013):
From March to August this year we are down 25 per cent on bikes but we compensated for this to keep it static last year with the better September/ October 2012. I would hazard a guess that the better weather after a very wet summer and maybe some tail-end London 2012 Olympics and Tour de France-inspired sales provided us with that uplift.
A problem with a nearby charity providing free bike repairs is ongoing for us, potentially further depressing new bike sales in our area due to customers being aided to hold onto their current bikes – but without us benefitting from this with a workshop and P&A uplift whatsoever, like most bike shops do.
Our local council has called a meeting as they feel the situation is now harming their Economic Development Strategy.
We will have to seriously think over the next year, that if things do not change, if we can continue.
It’s been suggested we have a good business and attitude and perhaps now due to the charity situation we are now in the wrong location. Problem is, this activity will only increase if it’s not stopped, so I’m not sure where would be a safe location these days.
In the meantime we will enjoy helping our loyal customers, they are the ones that keep us going... just... both in terms of custom and cheeriness!”
Are you an independent bike dealer...
...willing to honestly tell us how business is on the front lines of bicycle retail? Email us at Jonathon.Harker@intentmedia.co.uk