Jobs to go as WiggleCRC moves warehousing from NI to Wolverhampton

WiggleCR could cut about 300 jobs in Northern Ireland as it consolidates its warehousing to its site in Wolverhampton.

In February, BikeBiz broke the story about Wiggle absorbing Chain Reaction Cycles.

Now in a statement the combined company said: "For WiggleCRC to retain its position and remain competitive in the UK as well as increasingly global markets, we have concluded that this can be best achieved by concentrating the majority of our distribution through our warehouse facility in Wolverhampton.

"This necessary step, will require the relocation of significant warehouse activities currently in Doagh, Carrickfergus and Ballyclare.

"WiggleCRC will retain a significant staff and management presence in Northern Ireland, with at least 275 unaffected employees forming a vital part of our ambitious growth plans."

However, it’s believed 152 staff and 161 agency roles could be at risk.

Founded in 1999 as an offshoot from Butlers Cycles, a Portsmouth bike shop, Wiggle grew and grew, and in 2011 was sold to Bridgepoint Capital for £180m.

Chain Reaction Cycles sprang from a small bike shop in the tiny town of Ballyclare in 1989. The shop is now a barber’s shop, a very small barber’s shop. This was the second shop. The first, started in 1984, was Ballynure Cycles, an even smaller operation. The business was founded by George and Janice Watson – their first sale was a chain link costing 11p. When the business moved to Ballyclare the decision was made to change the firm’s name, and Chain Reaction Cycles was born. The website was launched the following year.

Wiggle and Chain Reaction had been fighting head to head for many years, with Wiggle moving ahead of Chain Reaction in 2013 when sales at the family-owned firm dropped six percent to £145m. Chris Watson, son of George and Janice, is the company’s managing director. The Watson family is said to have a personal fortune of £200m.

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