Ask the trade: Are bike shops holding less stock and/or focusing more on services since 2016?

In the third part of our Brexit-themed Ask The Trade (check out part one and part two here), CIN asked bike shops about the changes to bike retail since the time of the EU vote, whether directly influenced by the vote itself, or not…

Are you holding less stock or focusing more on services since June 2016? If so, has Brexit been a factor in that change?

Neil Holman, George Hall Cycles
Certain stock I have cut back on, but this is just a natural morphing of the business due to the current trading climate. I don’t stock a fraction of the clothing I used to because customers don’t walk through the door and buy it anymore. Similarly, I stock a fraction of the bikes and bike brands I used to, again for the same reason plus the commitments and buy in deals they still ask for.

In 2016, I did a talk at one of the local school academies in a business studies class. One of the questions I was asked, was how has my business changed since I have owned it? My answer was: “In 2004 when I took over the business, we were a cycle centre that serviced bikes, now we are a service centre that sells bikes. Around 2004 we were selling on average 700 bikes a year, now we do about 120.”

Paul Lynn, Mountain Mania Cycles
We look at stock holding value all the time to ensure we have the correct level due to customer needs but also vary this through the high and low seasons for cycling.

John Hamlen, Flag Bikes
Yes, we have. However, this has been driven more by cash flow and online competition concerns than by Brexit factors.

Scott Snaith, 50cycles
We hold less stock now but this not due to Brexit, more to do with a change of strategy to focus on quick delivery times from our suppliers.

Are there any other ways to lead up to the UK’s EU exit has affected the bike trade?

Neil Holman, George Hall Cycles
I don’t know, other than the UK government in the eyes of most Europeans are a laughing stock. Instead of taking the lead on the situation they have cowarded to it.

Paul Lynn, Mountain Mania Cycles
If Brexit should cause any concern for consumers then we will see car sales slow and the average household cars reduce but everyone still needs to keep mobile and the trusty old bike will come out of the shed and be possibly replaced with a new one, so we only see positives. We have just relocated to a new building and spent nearly £100,000 on a store refurbishment which reflects our positive attitude going forward in whatever climate.

John Hamlen, Flag Bikes
There’s nothing specific to the bike trade. The main issue is the same for all retail: uncertainty is (very) bad for business!

Scott Snaith, 50cycles
Brexit has been a good talking point when we meet our suppliers on the continent. We get on as usual and it’s business as usual. I personally try not to let the news grab my attention in any way – it is all a big distraction from getting more bikes
out on the road.

Want to take part in our next Professionals Panel? Contact Jon@cyclingindustry.news to register your interest.