'Rollercoaster ride' of sales rolls into 2011

February sees bike dealer sales slump

ActSmart’s monthly market research for February, produced exclusively for ACT and BikeBiz saw the roller coaster ride witnessed throughout 2010 roll into 2011 with January’s 16 per cent growth give way to a slump in February…

Specialist cycle retailer sales grew by 15.9 per cent in January and then fell by 7.4 per cent in February.

The rollercoaster ride in sales seen through 2010 is already re-appearing in 2011.

This unsettled performance underlines that there is no consistent demand in the market place. We are increasingly dependent upon a core of committed cyclists, whilst the ‘considered purchasers’ ebb and flow.

January’s growth figures were offset by the 17 per cent slump in the snow ridden Jan’ 2010, in contrast February 2010 sales grew by 7.6 per cent, this year’s turnaround is a warning sign, all is not well.

The majority of businesses researched in February suffered a sales reduction. 58 per cent of businesses reported sales down vs. 2011 with a combined sales shortfall of minus 31 per cent. Over 30 per cent of contributors saw sales reduce by over 20 per cent in the month. Only the snow impacted January and December 2010 witnessed worse figures in the year and it matches the start of the slump witnessed in September 2010.

As always there are ups and downs. The businesses that have continued to grow over the past year or two are powering ahead. The 42 per cent of contributors who reported sales growth in February achieved a combined growth of over 45 per cent in the month! A quarter of all businesses delivered growth in excess of 20 per cent vs. February 2010 (our research does not include any major internet only businesses, these are largely bricks and mortar stores).

Year to date like-for-like core sales growth, excluding cycle to work and retail finance, stands at 3.5 per cent, but over the past three months, including the wintry December, sales are down by 3.4 per cent.

Early feedback for March isn’t exciting and the industry needs some continued sunshine to get things started ahead of Easter.

There are a few more positive rumblings about cycle to work volumes and there is now little doubt that the retail sector needs this initiative to continue in the short term. As far as other cycling initiatives, we have to ask the question as to how they are really impacting upon cycling. Halfords are reportedly fairing worse than the IBD.

For more on February sales and market data visit: http://cycles.actsmart.biz/news

ActSmart: 0845 6187256

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