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‘There’s wastage and then there’s this,’ says delivery driver who spotted them

A Tesco store in Manchester is reported to have thrown thousands of pounds worth of unsold bikes into a skip, rather than giving them to charity. Tesco have said it was a genuine mistake and that the store would offer bikes to local charities and groups in the future.

An agency delivery driver spotted the skip full of bikes at the Tesco Extra on Chester Road in Stretford. He told the Manchester Evening News that there were at least 24 bikes, estimating their value at around £4,000.

“I was making a delivery and I saw a skip full of bikes. It was diabolical, it’s disgusting. They’re all brand new bikes, some of them still in the boxes. There’s nothing wrong with them.

“There are people out there struggling to make ends meet and Tesco are getting away with throwing these bikes away. I don’t know how they can do business that way. How can they look people in the eye when people are struggling and they’re throwing away bikes coming up to Christmas?

“I counted at least 24 bicycles – perhaps £4,000 worth of stock. There are people that restore old bikes. There are orphanages, old people’s homes, even their own employees who could take them home for their families.

“There’s wastage and then there’s this. This is enough to make a bunch of kids cry. At this time of year especially this is absolutely shocking. If people don’t complain then they’ll just keep getting away with it. It must be happening all around the country.”

A Tesco spokesman said that it wasn’t a policy, but a decision made at store level. “Our Stretford store chose to dispose of a number of three-year-old, ex-display bikes that had parts missing and could not be reduced to clear or offered to colleagues. In future, we will ensure any similar items are first offered to local charities, as we do with a large range of products.”

Back in 2010, Tesco set its sights on the bicycle sector, opening a ‘Bike Shop’ concept. After a BBC Watchdog programme had highlighted the dangers of flatpack BSOs – bicycle-shaped objects – an assembly service seemed to be a means of addressing common concerns relating to a supermarket selling bikes.

Tesco said it would keep an eye on performance and that the concept could be expanded, but there has been little evidence of this – indeed the stores in which the Bike Shop concept was launched no longer advertise the service.  

At the time, Richard Perks of the consumer research consultancy Mintel told road.cc that Tesco’s approach to bike sales would most likely follow a standard supermarket approach. “The classic supermarket strategy would be to cream the market – introduce ranges of bikes geared to the lower end of the market, make sure they are very price competitive (by buying in bulk) and aim for volume sales.”

Alex has written for more cricket publications than the rest of the road.cc team combined. Despite the apparent evidence of this picture, he doesn't especially like cake.