100 front line businesses share their feedback from the past year's trading

Independent retail survey: The results, part one

Each December BikeBiz calls on independent retailers to share their feedback on the year’s trading, concerns and aspirations for the future. Mark Sutton gathers 100 individual responses from the front line in another revealing insight into the specialist business…

By what percentage have your annual profits increased or decline year on year?

up 50% or more 9.3%
up 30% – 50% 7.2%
up 10% – 30% 32.0%
Barely changed 25.8%
down 10% – 20% 15.5%
down 30% – 50% 6.2%
down 50% or more 4.0%

COMMENT: Erring slightly more toward the positive, the majority of retailers haven’t lost ground, though few have excelled either. Those that are down year-on-year have largely only performed marginally worse.

What figure best fits your annual takings for cycle clothing, footwear and related accessories at retail value?

£0 to £1,000 14.6%
£1,000 to £4,000 5.2%
£4,000 to £8,000 7.3%
£8,000 to £16,000 7.3%
£16,000 to £25,000 17.7%
£25,000 to £40,000 11.5%
£40,000 to £60,000 9.4%
£60,000 plus 27.0%

COMMENT: Last year BikeBiz confessed to having underestimated the value of this segment. Once again it seems the majority are doing far better business than we’d anticipated, with nearly a third doing 60k-plus at retail value annually.

What portion of business do Cycle To Work sales represent?

No C2W Business 23.6%
Between 1% and 15% 52.6%
Between 15% and 30% 19.6%
Between 30% and 45% 2.1%
50% or more 2.1%
All business 0%

COMMENT: The worth of Cycle to Work seems to have remained despite a turbulent start to the year with the re-working of the valuation process. As of January 1st the scheme will become subject to VAT, which could dent business here.

If you’ve had to make any cutbacks this year, where have these been made?

Cutting staff numbers, hours or pay 29.1%
Seeking more competitive utilities 41.9%
Seeking cheaper courier options 17.4%
Stock levels 70.9%
Overhead costs or premises move 15.1%
Trimming sales to focus on repairs 18.6%

COMMENT: Suppliers beware, tough times are to result directly in tough measures as excessive stock levels and lake of cash flow appears to be a big concern at present. Without a bumper Christmas to boost funds it could be a slow start next year.

Are you selling more or less bikes with finance deals than this time last year?

Around the same 53.0%
More 25.7%
Less 21.3%

COMMENT: Bit of a non-mover this one, looking more or less identical to last year’s graph. The ACT has now partnered with MoneyWay for those interested in giving customers extended payment terms – worth a look if you’re a member.

What percentage of your annual takings come from the workshop?

1% to 20% 38.8%
20% to 40% 34.7%
40% to 60% 16.3%
60% to 80% 3.1%
80% to 100% 7.1%

Comment: Interestingly, when compared to last year’s top end stat, it seems the workshop-only model is taking off slowly, but steadily. Last year just two per cent posted in the top bracket. The stats do hint at a gradual progression towards more workshop business.

BikeBiz would like to thank Cycling Sports Group UK for once again backing this research.

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