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Dawes and Claud Butler bike maker reports drop in sales

Tandem Group says cycling boom is a myth

The Guardian reports that the Castle Bromwich-based Tandem Group, which makes both Dawes and Claud Butler bikes, has seen sales of its bikes and accessories fall by 6.7% to £3.7m in the first 11 weeks of the second half of its year. While sales of top-end bikes are booming, it seems it is leisure bike sales that have been poor

The drop follows a 3.8% rise in bike sales over the first half of the year which moved the group to a £213,000 pre-tax profit over that period from a £498,000 loss the previous year. However, it has been enough for Tandem to question whether we really are seeing a boom in cycling at present.

Jim Shears, the group’s finance director, commented:

"In recent years you've seen the London Olympics effect and the Tour de France and there are a lot more high-end cyclists about. People are interested in cycling but it's not correct to say cycling is booming in the UK. In our part of the market, which is mainly mums and dads going out for a ride with the family, we haven't seen the same effect. There's not a massive uplift in cycling across the country."

This echoes recent comments from the National Association of Cycle Traders (ACT) who feel that increased levels of cycling are not having as big a commercial impact as might be expected.

While the ACT’s Mark Walmsley cited good weather as being one of the greatest positive influences on sales, Shears says that excessive heat is actually one reason why Tandem has suffered in recent times.

"Without making excuses, if it's baking hot would you go and get on your bike? You would probably want to sit in your garden and have a barbecue."

Shears also believes that sales have been affected by where the firm’s bikes are sold. Tandem brands – which as well as Dawes and Claud Butler also include Falcon, Boss, Townsend and British Eagle – are typically sold in smaller shops and Shears says that independent bike retailers are seeing more and more of the market go to online retailers and supermarkets.

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