There are fears that Evans Cycles, the UK’s largest specialist bricks-and-mortar cycling retailer, could become the latest victim of the crisis gripping the country’s High Street retail sector.
Sky News reports that ECI Partners, the private equity owners of the business founded in south London as FW Evans in 1921, are inviting bids for the business by the end of next week.
Companies approached by PricewaterhouseCoopers, appointed earlier this month by ECI Partners to explore options for the business, include other private equity firms and retailers, as well as retail turnaround specialists.
According to Sky News, it is unclear whether a potential buyer of the business, which trades from around 60 stores having expanded steadily outside its London and the south east heartland in recent years, might look to secure a company voluntary arrangement to close underperforming stores.
In common with many other businesses that trade principally from physical stores, Evans Cycles has been hit by competition from both specialist online-only retailers, as well as general internet-based retailers and, in particular, Amazon.
Price competition has squeezed margins, and at the same time the High Street has been hit by rising overheads, with a number of household names including House of Fraser and Mothercare running into major financial difficulties in recent months.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.