Pedal power in lockdown continues to drive sales upturn for bike shops and repair firms
PUBLISHED: 12:42 09 May 2020 | UPDATED: 12:42 09 May 2020
People getting on their bikes in lockdown is resulting in Norfolk cycle shops and repair firms seeing sales on the right track.
The boss of nationwide store Halfords, with stores in Norwich and Dereham open, attributed cycling as saving the firm from much worse impact due to coronavirus. The retailer, which saw its shares rise by 11pc earlier this week, is operating a click and collect service and ‘drive thru’ repairs.
Oher cycle retailers Evans Cycles and Cycle Revolution, both with shops in Norwich, have also re-opened as a result of demand.
Evans, with a store in Westlegate, is currently operating a by appointment service and Cycle Revolution, in Castle Quarter, which was owned by Halfords, is also open but with some limited hours and services. It re-opened after closing down for good a month ago after being taken over by Pure Electric, a specialist electric mobility retailer.
People offering bike repairs such as Andrew Morris, from Wymondham, otherwise known as ‘Mr Cycle’ and a keen cyclist himself, has also seen a real upturn in business because people are dusting off their old bikes in lockdown. Such is the demand, he has joined forces with other bike mechanics locally and set up a Facebook group for key worker repairs. The mechanics share jobs so that bikes can be fixed as quickly as possible for those in need.
Mr Morris said: “We are sharing all our jobs so the closest mechanic can get to them quickly. It’s all love in the cycle world.”
NHS staff can also use bikes from the Beryl scheme, Norwich’s version of the Boris bikes, launched in March, free.
But it hasn’t been an easy ride. CEO of Halfords Graham Stapleton said: “Whilst trading since our last update at the end of March has been better than anticipated, driven by a strong performance in cycling, considerable uncertainty remains and as such we continue to take all necessary measures to preserve cash and protect our financial position.”
Mr Stapleton added: “Cycling has provided commuters with an important alternative to public transport and consequently we have seen significant growth within our Cycle2Work programme.” Cycle2Work is an employee benefit scheme operated by the firm whereby money is deducted from pay every month for new bikes and accessories.
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