Is New Major Player in UK Cycle Market About to Emerge?
LONDON, UK – Sky News reports that the UK’s main bricks and mortar cycle retailer, Halfords, has pulled out of talks aimed at finding a buyer for the 60+ strong high street chain of bike shops, Evans. It results in the fact that there are two main potential buyers left. One of the two is a major new player.
Bike Europe has previously reported how, back in September, major UK cycle retailer Evans Cycles hired a financial restructuring firm PricewaterhouseCoopers as it was seeking a financial lifeline of around GBP 10 million (11.2m euro) in borrowing (this rose to GBP 20 million or 22.4m euros in some subsequent reports). Our subsequent report detailed how Evans was now looking for a buyer with three potential purchasers identified by the UK media; Halfords, JD Sports and Sports Direct.
Two main potential buyers left
The most recent Sky New report states that “Halfords wanted to focus on existing upmarket fascias Cycle Republic and Tredz rather than pursue Evans Cycles.” It is thought that this leaves two main potential buyers of Evans – JD Sports and Sports Direct – both companies with a significant presence on the UK high street, though only a limited part of that concerns bike retail.
JD Sports owns outdoor sports chain GoOutdoors which retails major bicycle brands such as Raleigh, Kona and Schwinn and its own brand Calibre together.
Since 2017 Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley has been sole shareholder of TriUK, which describes itself as ‘the UK’s largest triathlon retailer and mail order specialist’ and operates from a single giant 17,000 sq ft ‘superstore’ in the south-west of England.
Will major new player emerge?
Much is clearly at stake for the UK cycle market – will a major new player emerge with the aim of rivalling Halfords, or if talks collapse will it leave an unhappy supply chain who will have seen the disappearance of a major customer?