Why the Evans Cycles struggles show we need a high street shake up - comment

The Evans Cycles store in Brighton - courtesy of Google Street View
The Evans Cycles store in Brighton - courtesy of Google Street View

Struggling Gatwick-based Evans Cycles is the latest in a series of high profile high street chains to face financial difficulties.

Compared to five years ago the high street and cycle industry are unrecognisable.

As rates soar, narrowing margins for bricks and mortar bike shops make owners feel the pinch.

They face stiff competition, battling with other retails stores, along with direct sellers and online retailers.

The boom of the online marketplace and the lower overheads that go hand in hand with it has lead to a drop in prices which traditional retailers are struggling to compete with.

Evans Cycles are a perfect example of this, as new owner Mike Ashley expects to have to close half the stores in order to save the business.

To compound this, the impact of direct sellers, who design and sell straight to the consumer, has opened a new front for bricks and mortar bike shops to defend.

In order to thrive in this fast changing world, retailers need to take a different approach.

By marketing a unique selling point distance sellers can't offer they can again capture customers.

As cycle shops open cafes and focus their efforts on repairs and servicing we're seeing shops come round to this idea but it will still take a concerted effort to overcome the seasonal nature of the cycle trade.

There's a huge amount of skill and experience in bike shops across the country, we just have to hope they can stick around to share it.