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

Figures published by the beleaguered online cycling retailer's administrator suggest £1 million was owed to two major cycling distributors, although some debts listed have now been paid...

The extent of money owed by WiggleCRC to brands across the bike industry has been laid bare in the recently published administrator's report outlining the state of play since the online cycling retailer entered administration in October.

Two weeks ago, we reported that administrators are "optimistic" about the prospect of selling the business, with Wiggle making a "considerable trading profit" during the administration period involving the Black Friday sales and run up to Christmas.

However, the administrator's report, published on Companies House, also highlights a significant list of individuals and brands from across the cycling industry and beyond who were owed money at the time Wiggle entered administration, although it is also worth mentioning that in speaking to sources road.cc learnt that some creditors mentioned have since been paid in full.

Wiggle and Chain Reaction logos

Haribo is listed as being owed £20,275 by WiggleCRC, but did not respond to a request for comment, while major UK distributors Madison and Extra UK LTD are listed as due £1,095,272 and £925,614 respectively. Also at the top end of the scale are Taiwan-based manufacturer Ideal Bike Corporation, listed as being owed £1,291,050, Garmin Europe Limited (£853,762), Saddleback (£815,082), Science in Sport (£662,558), POC Sweden (£507,968), Selle Italia (£400,922), Endura (£387,329), and Vittoria (£208,920).

From speaking to figures within the bike industry road.cc understands some debts have been paid in full since Wiggle entered administration, while other brands may in fact be owed less than the stated figure due to contractual factors.

British-based brands such as Raleigh (£235,781) and Muc-Off (£99,647) are also listed as being owed the aforementioned debts.

An industry source also suggested the scale of Wiggle's business means the company may "not be necessarily that far behind, it could be a monthly turnover that they have not paid once, and that is half a million pounds to some of these companies".

Speaking from their role at a company who had been paid in full, they pointed out the administrator's statement also only notes the debts owed when Wiggle entered administration in October, not as of mid-December when the report was published - for example, road.cc's own parent company Farrelly Atkinson Ltd is listed as being owed £720, that the company understands has now been paid. However, the industry source says they are aware of other brands who have not yet been paid. 

The administrator's proposal notes that it was agreed following consultation with management "that the best course of action was to continue to trade the business while a buyer was sought."

Wiggle entered administration in the weeks of heavy retail activity leading up to the Black Friday sales and Christmas shopping period, something which is reflected in the report, administrators saying trading had been "very positive during the administration process" with a "considerable trading profit achieved".

> Is it safe to spend with troubled retail giant Wiggle Chain Reaction?

The administrators added that they had "taken the opportunity to augment stock held within the business with opportunistic purchases to generate additional website traffic and profits".

Heavy discounts have continued beyond Black Friday, Wiggle's website currently promoting an 'Epic Winter Sale' with up to 70 per cent savings on offer.

Wiggle Epic Winter Sale

Wiggle Chain Reaction recorded a pre-tax loss of over £97 million in 2022, compared to £14.5 million for the previous year, as the company's former chief finance officer blamed the aftereffects of Covid, Brexit, and ongoing economic uncertainty for the significant drop.

Alarm bells began to ring in the autumn of last year, Wiggle Chain Reaction's parent company Signa Sports United (SSU) reporting "severe liquidity and profitability challenges" and announcing the delisting of its shares. As a result, SSU's €150 million funding commitment from its own parent company, Signa Holding, was withdrawn and in turn painted an increasingly bleak picture for Wiggle and the group's other cycling business, which include Bikester, Probikeshop, and Farrhad.de.

By mid-October, word was spreading of Wiggle's reported impending entry into administration, news confirmed shortly afterwards.

> What the hell is going on in the bike industry? Wiggle Chain Reaction turmoil discussed on the road.cc Podcast

Wiggle Chain Reaction was put up for sale as its parent company filed for insolvency, the month of November beginning with more bad news as 105 redundancies were announced.

Administrators reported "considerable interest" for the business from potential buyers, Mike Ashley's Frasers Group which owns Evans Cycles rumoured to be one such party, and in last month's report the administrators said they remained "optimistic" over the possibility of a sale.

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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57 comments

Avatar
Superted86 | 3 months ago
1 like

Sod Haribo. I was made redundant as part of the administration process and they owe me over £26k. Of which I'll probably see 2p of every pound...if I'm lucky

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brooksby | 3 months ago
2 likes

I wonder what £20,000 worth of Haribo looks like.

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Hirsute replied to brooksby | 3 months ago
3 likes

A major gut ache !

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lio | 3 months ago
0 likes

I really hope that CRC/Wiggle doesn't end up owned by Mike Ashley's Sportsdirect.

I used to use our local Evans a bit but since Mike Ashley bought them they're useless.  They just don't stock any highend or quality products anymore.  Even Halfords have a better range.

I use CRC quite a bit so it would be a shame to see them so degraded to SportsDirect level.

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unclebadger replied to lio | 1 month ago
0 likes

Looks like you had a proper premonition dude, what a ghastly prospect.

PS: Any tips for the Euromillions on Friday?

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RhysW | 3 months ago
5 likes

The debt needs some context adding - it maybe that WiggleCRC had failed to pay Company A £X and hadn't the means to pay.  But it is more likely that these debts are part of normal retailing - retailers buy goods intending to pay for them when they are sold - possibly 90 Days after the goods landed in the warehouse.

It may not be a case of WiggleCRC having not been able to pay these companies (suppliers will often only sell on cash terms if a suppliers credit is poor).  But the goods had been bought and shipped on normal terms and at the time of administration the accounts hadn't been settled.

 

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Jimmy Ray Will replied to RhysW | 3 months ago
0 likes

From what I've seen, a lot of invoices were arranged with due dates after the 1st November, so I'd say this whole episode had been planned for a while. 

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Freddy56 | 3 months ago
2 likes

They owe BicycleLine, the Italian clothing company over 400K, still, which will put their lights out. I've stopped buying off them as it is only hurting the bike trade's future.

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fenix replied to Freddy56 | 3 months ago
0 likes

Interesting. Do Bicycle Line make the DHB kit - I've not seen BL as a brand on wiggle.

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Freddy56 replied to fenix | 3 months ago
0 likes

Don't know, my DHB jacket says made in China. A friend works for Endura who hasn't been paid and were not permitted to removestock from warehouse in Wolverhampton.

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RDaneel replied to Freddy56 | 3 months ago
0 likes

But would not them going kaput and paying nothing at all to suppliers with the subsequent potentially huge amount of very cheap stock onto the market be a lot worse? 
DHB I imagine use a range of suppliers, Bicycle line could be one of them. 

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Jimmy Ray Will replied to RDaneel | 3 months ago
0 likes

So, the market is already filled with cheap stock. That damage has already been done to the industry, and to be fair to Wiggle, they are as much victims of that situation, as contributory to it. 

What Wiggle brought to the industry, which I hope will become a part of the industries history now, is incredibly aggressive buying tactics. They were brutally cut throat, but again, to be fair, they did have the shop window to be so. 

That window has gone, I can't see it returning to what it was - the market is not there, and will never be there again, and suppliers will surely be less willing to jump back into bed with a partner that, having always pushed the limits, literally ran off with the cash. 

I suspect we are about to see a new supply chain model come to market. Amazon-esque but with a bricks and mortar / showroom element attached. 

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alchemilla | 3 months ago
7 likes

£20k owed to Haribo was an unnecessary debt. I never wanted a packet of sweets and just chucked it in the bin, as did several other cyclists I know. Doubtless some people like that chewy ultra-processed non-food, but to me it was just unwanted garbage.

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Sriracha replied to alchemilla | 3 months ago
4 likes

That just seems like inept management. Never mind paying Haribo, why were Wiggle not charging Haribo, for product placement? Honestly, I'd assumed that was what was going on there.

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ubercurmudgeon replied to Sriracha | 3 months ago
0 likes

It is not always easy in such commercial relationships to determine who pays who for what supposed benefit:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdr96nGHWzI

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RoubaixCube replied to alchemilla | 3 months ago
5 likes

you did? I cut them into small chunks and used them for fishing.

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momove replied to RoubaixCube | 3 months ago
6 likes

Were you fishing for me?

Those were my favourite parts of ordering!

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Brauchsel replied to alchemilla | 3 months ago
14 likes

alchemilla wrote:

Doubtless some people like that chewy ultra-processed non-food

It's one of the recommended remedies for diabetic hypoglycaemia, as it gets into the bloodstream so quickly. The little bags are exactly the right size/dose to keep in a saddle pack for emergencies. It's not "non-food" to everyone, and I doubt your diet is 100% beyond reproach.

It's just a bonus that Tangfastics are also delicious. 

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bikes replied to Brauchsel | 3 months ago
2 likes

It seemed an odd choice to me given that Haribo aren't vegan. Presumably a significant percentage of their customers wouldn't appreciate them. I asked for them not to be included in my order but they were anyway.

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to bikes | 3 months ago
6 likes

bikes wrote:

It seemed an odd choice to me given that Haribo aren't vegan.

No that's a normal choice

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bikes replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 3 months ago
0 likes
Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

bikes wrote:

It seemed an odd choice to me given that Haribo aren't vegan.

No that's a normal choice

Normal maybe, hard to see it being the best business move though.

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Rik Mayals unde... replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 3 months ago
1 like

I have never met a vegan who didn't tell me they were vegan within a few minutes of being introduced. 

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wtjs replied to Rik Mayals underpants | 3 months ago
3 likes

I have never met a vegan who didn't tell me they were vegan within a few minutes of being introduced

Total Logic Failure alert

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RDaneel replied to bikes | 3 months ago
0 likes

bikes wrote:

 I asked for them not to be included in my order but they were anyway.

I'd imagine if they're sending out 1000's of orders a day it may have been difficult to single out the orders that requested not to have them. Tis a shame they couldn't find a Vegan option mind, are all Haribo non Vegan I wonder? 
 

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OnYerBike replied to RDaneel | 3 months ago
1 like

IIRC when ordering from Wiggle there is a box for "Order notes" where you can make such requests. It does state that adding notes can delay the order, but it would seem pointless to appear to give customers that option and then ignore the request. 

Yes, Haribo do have some vegan options. I would note that "normal" haribo (Starmix, Tangfastics etc.) are not only not vegan, they are not even suitable for vegetarians.

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fenix replied to RDaneel | 3 months ago
0 likes

Yes there's a couple of vegan Haribo packs. My vegan wife will steal my Haribo occasionally.

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Secret_squirrel replied to bikes | 3 months ago
2 likes

bikes wrote:

It seemed an odd choice to me given that Haribo aren't vegan. Presumably a significant percentage of their customers wouldn't appreciate them. I asked for them not to be included in my order but they were anyway.

Seems unlikely that many will care.  10% of Europeans identify as Vegan (6% in US), lets be generous and say 15% of cyclists would.  Then subtract the Vegans who couldn't care less about the Haribo's arriving and those who give them away - you're back to looking at less than 10% of orders.   Not much for Wiggle to care about tbh.

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hawkinspeter replied to Secret_squirrel | 3 months ago
0 likes

Secret_squirrel wrote:

Seems unlikely that many will care.  10% of Europeans identify as Vegan (6% in US), lets be generous and say 15% of cyclists would.  Then subtract the Vegans who couldn't care less about the Haribo's arriving and those who give them away - you're back to looking at less than 10% of orders.   Not much for Wiggle to care about tbh.

I'm vegetarian (well pescetarian actually, but the principle is the same) which is a dietary choice rather than a political choice like veganism. When I get the Haribo, I just pass them onto someone else due to their gelatine content although my refusing to eat gelatine is probably more political than dietary due to the very small amounts involved. It's just a shame that they didn't choose a different type of sweet that doesn't use boiled up animals - there's plenty of them around.

(A vegan will refuse to wear leather shoes and a vegetarian will refuse to eat them)

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Steve K replied to hawkinspeter | 3 months ago
2 likes

hawkinspeter wrote:

I'm vegetarian (well pescetarian actually, but the principle is the same) which is a dietary choice rather than a political choice like veganism.

Meat is murder, but fish is justifiable homicide.

(with thanks to the late, great, Jeremy Hardy.)

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hawkinspeter replied to Steve K | 3 months ago
0 likes

Steve K wrote:

Meat is murder, but fish is justifiable homicide.

(with thanks to the late, great, Jeremy Hardy.)

I just don't eat anything with a face

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