Staff at Evans are telling customers that it is unclear whether they will be able to redeem gift tokens or discount vouchers obtained prior to the chain going into administration and its subsequent purchase by retailer Sports Direct.
The stack-it-high-sell-it-cheap retail group founded and run by Mike Ashley bought troubled Evans Cycles in what is known is known as a pre-pack administration at the end of last month.
According to Begbies Traynor, the UK’s leading firm of chartered insolvency practitioners, the process “is a powerful tool which facilitates the sale of an insolvent business to existing directors, a trade buyer or a third party.”
Among other things, the firm says that the procedure means that “The image and business ‘brand’ is unlikely to be compromised by adverse publicity, leading to the increased likelihood of jobs being saved and suppliers being paid under the new ownership.”
That will be of little comfort to the Evans staff currently unsure about their jobs – Ashley has said that around half the 62 stores will close – nor customers who hold gift tokens with the retailer, or discount vouchers available under schemes such as Tesco Rewards or British Cycling membership.
At road.cc, we have had reports of signs on the door of Evans stores stating that vouchers will not be accepted, as well as other problems, especially with the fulfilment of Cyclescheme bikes ordered under the government’s Cycle to Work scheme.
Other people have told us that Evans Cycles has been removed from employee benefits pages, which is unsurprising since that would generally be a voucher-based benefit.
On Twitter, the company has told people who have vouchers to phone a telephone helpline and register their details, and that it will get back to them once the situation becomes clearer.
— briefcase (@clapperdavies) November 3, 2018
Some expressed doubt, however, whether vouchers would ever be redeemed following the change in ownership.
— Evans Cycles (@EvansCycles) November 6, 2018
It seems that even if you have the same first initial and surname as the retailer, which started trading in south London in 1921, you’re currently out of luck.
Good afternoon, thank you for the post. We are sorry for this issue and can understand the disappointment caused. Due to the sale of the business, these are suspended for now. If you could please call us on 01293 574900 we can take some details to let you know when it is back.
— Ask Evans Cycles (@askevanscycles) November 6, 2018
Subscribers to the Evans Cycles email mailing list, meanwhile, will have received a message informing them that following the acquisition by Sports Direct Group of the business and assets of FW Evans Cycles Limited, “Your personal data as held by Evans Cycles has now been transferred to that company, which is now the data controller of your personal data.”
The email concludes with Evans Cycles’ long-standing slogan, “Enjoy the ride,” which may now have acquired a double-meaning for voucher holders.
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.