Specialized UK has announced Rutland Cycling will now become part of its expanding retailer network.
Rutland Cycling, founded in 1981, currently has 12 stores in operation, spread from Nottingham to Milton Keynes, including a number of Giant specialist dealer stores.
Having worked as partners for many years, Specialized will now take ownership of the chain, as Specialized UK said it aims to give riders more opportunity to interact with the US-founded bike brand.
Simon Homer, managing director of Specialized UK said: “Bringing Rutland into the Specialized family provides some exciting opportunities for both businesses. Immediately, we will have to make some decisions to secure a sustainable future for Rutland and this may involve a restructuring of its network and cost base. We will do this with complete clarity and transparency, and with full consideration and consultation for those who may be affected. As we navigate these changes, we will be investing to ensure we strengthen the rider experience, demonstrating our ongoing commitment to serving the rider and building a resilient and modern ecosystem.”
Specialized said it will be working very closely with the Rutland team as ownership transfers across. Riders will begin to see some changes to Rutland’s stores as supplier relationships are finalised, but both parties remain committed to ensuring minimal disruption to service.
BGF, the London-based investment firm that currently owns Rutland, will be completely exiting the business.
Earlier this year, Specialized also announced that it was launching direct-to-consumer sales online for the first time.
The decision to make bikes available over the internet was an unexpected move from California-based bike brand Specialized, owing to the unequivocal words of its former CEO Mike Sinyard, who 10 years ago assured dealers: “We will never sell bikes over the internet.” Sinyard, who founded Specialized in 1974, has long been critical of online sales in the bike industry, and the impact it has on local shops.
While the brand has a history of selling shoes and accessories direct to consumers online, earlier this year Specialized announced that for the first time the public would be able to order their brand new bike from Specialized.com, and get a range of delivery options for their machine to be delivered directly to their door.
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This year the founder of Specialized Mike Sinyard also stepped down as CEO to take on a new role as chairman and chief rider advocate.
Former chief operating officer for Dyson, Scott Maguire, has since taken over as CEO.