Specialized has said that it is cutting around one in 12 jobs worldwide, with what it described as a “difficult” decision reflecting the headwinds the global cycling industry is facing following a period of strong demand for bicycles at the height of the coronavirus crisis.
The company, which is based in Morgan Hill near San Jose in California, is the latest to announce job cuts, following recent announcements of redundancies from firms including Strava, Wahoo and Zwift.
The announcement of the job losses was made yesterday, hours before Halfords, the UK’s biggest retailer of bicycles, said that the domestic cycling market had contracted by 20 per cent over the past year.
The US-based trade publication, Bike Retailer & Industry News (BRAIN) reported that employees whose contracts would be terminated included many working at company-owned stores in the US and across the world.
Like many other businesses within the cycling industry, Specialized saw strong growth in 2020 and 2021 due to the pandemic as people bought bikes, whether for fitness or to travel to work.
According to BRAIN, competition with rival Trek also saw the company looking to open more single-brand stores, but as with other businesses operating within the market it has been left with excess inventory as the boom prompted by the pandemic has subsided.
In its statement yesterday announcing the job losses, Specialized said: “Over the last three years, the industry has changed at an incredible pace and shown that cycling is more powerful than ever. It’s clear the time has come for transformation and shifts for the future.
“This past week, Specialized made the incredibly difficult decision to say goodbye to 8 per cent of teammates around the world.
“With the global economy changing faster than anticipated and rapid changes within cycling, the organisation adjustment will allow the brand to be adaptive, whilst still investing in innovation,” the company added.
CEO Scott Maguire – who replaced company founder Mike Sinyard in the role in March last year – commented: “We are transforming the company around our purpose to Pedal the Planet Forward.
“Our priority is to better serve riders, retailers, and communities and to be the best place for our teammates to innovate and grow.
“The time is now to adapt to the current environment and ultimately led us to make some extremely tough decisions today.
“I want to recognise those teammates who departed and thank them for all their contributions, hard work, and dedication to Specialized.
“We are focused on ensuring that they are fully supported during this difficult time.”
He added, in words that will be of scant comfort to the employees who have been laid off: “It may be tough to see in the moment, but the future of cycling and the future of our brand is bright.”
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.