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Chain Reaction Cycles announces closing of flagship Belfast store

The ripples of WiggleCRC entering administration continue, with the company launching an ‘everything must go’ sale at the store

Chain Reaction Cycles has announced the closing of its flagship store in Belfast which acted as the retailer’s main in-person store across the UK and Ireland, three months after its parent company filed for insolvency as the woes for WiggleCRC continue.

The store, located at Balmoral Plaza on Boucher Road, opened in 2012 and has acted as the retailer’s main in-person store across the UK and Ireland. Earlier this week, the company on its Facebook page that the decade-old store will finally close its doors next month.

Chain Reaction Cycles said: "We will continue to serve all our customers through our online store, chainreactioncycles.com, where you can shop our full range and receive support, warranty, and aftercare services from our customer service team."

"With the store closing soon, we are offering some incredible deals as we sell through our remaining stock. Please feel free to visit us in the coming weeks."

> WiggleCRC owed Haribo £20,000, plus millions of pounds to other cycling brands, administrator's proposal document reveals

Chain Reaction Cycles Belfast service area

Chain Reaction began its life in 1984 as the small village bike shop Ballynure Cycles, founded by George and Janice Watson, before moving to a bigger premises and changing its name in 1989, eventually setting up its online retail arm a decade later.

Around six years ago, shortly after its merger with Wiggle, Chain Reaction boasted four different locations in Northern Ireland, employing 275 staff – a number that has been more than halved in the intervening, turbulent, period. It's reported that the workers in its Belfast store are most likely facing termination of their jobs as well.

When doors to the Belfast store opened in 2012, the ribbon cut by none other than Northern Irish former pro cyclist and Olympic medallist Wendy Houvenaghel, then managing director Chris Watson as “a special day” for the CRC family.

> Wiggle Chain Reaction administrators announce 105 job cuts amid interest from potential buyers

However in the last year, the woes for WiggleCRC don't seem to have abated, having kicked off by the calamitous website redesign leading to customer outrage, and then its parent company filing for insolvency amidst "severe liquidity and profitability issues".

In November, administrators launched the sales process for Wiggle, with officials hopeful that the company will quickly find potential suitors as "considerable interest" was shown by potential buyers. Since then, there have also been rumours that another cycling giant Halfords could step in for a buyout.

Even WiggleCRC's sister company and owned by the same Berlin-based Signa Sports United (SSU), the Scottish-based bike distributer Hotlines Europe was forced to enter administration in the same month.

Last week, we reported that WiggleCRC owed Haribo a sum of £20,000, presumably owing to the usual bag the company used to chuck in while shipping its orders to its customers. Besides, Wiggle's other debts, amounting up to millions to other cycling brands were also laid bare in the recently published administrator's report.

Adwitiya joined road.cc in 2023 as a news writer after graduating with a masters in journalism from Cardiff University. His dissertation focused on active travel, which soon threw him into the deep end of covering everything related to the two-wheeled tool, and now cycling is as big a part of his life as guitars and football. He has previously covered local and national politics for Voice Wales, and also likes to writes about science, tech and the environment, if he can find the time. Living right next to the Taff trail in the Welsh capital, you can find him trying to tackle the brutal climbs in the valleys.

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5 comments

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a1white | 4 months ago
1 like

I had a delivery from wiggle today and there wasn't any Haribo in the box. This is surely the end?! 😮

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Secret_squirrel | 4 months ago
1 like

They had a shop? 

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giff77 replied to Secret_squirrel | 4 months ago
0 likes

Started off as a wee shop before introducing mail order then moved onto web based ordering. They were in the next town up the road from where I grew up. I think that part of the agreement with the Wiggle merger was to retain their bricks and mortar outlets. 

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ktache replied to giff77 | 4 months ago
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I remember phoning them up because of their double page spreads in 90s MTB mags.
Wonderful accents.

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JMcL_Ireland replied to Secret_squirrel | 4 months ago
0 likes

And a very fine one at that. I was only in it once a couple of years ago, but the staff were sound and knowledgeable. I guess it was only a matter of time before this happened so you have to feel for them.

I assume Wiggle themselves must have had a store at some point

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