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.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.