KB Cycles of Newburn is to close. Owner Keith Bradley said he needs to sell 232 bikes between now and a week on Saturday. The business employs four staff in addition to Bradley, who owns the premises, a former fire-station five miles from the centre of Newcastle on Tyne.
The shop stocks bikes from Trek, Scott, and Haibike, and was one of BikeBiz‘s Top Twenty IBDs of 2018.
The shop flooded in 2012 and was subsequently robbed, with £30,000-worth of stock taken by thieves taking advantage of the downtime.
"We have fantastic suppliers, and some fantastic customers," Bradley told BikeBiz.
"We’ve been flying since the flooding in 2012, but then business started dropping off in 2016."
Part of this drop in business was due to the retail malaise affecting the High Street in general but Bradley said other factors include tighter and tighter margins driven down by online retailing.
"Nobody pays full retail any more," he said. "Yet, on top of that, customer’s expectations are unreal."
He also said suppliers are not intelligently controlling how product is getting to market, and they are also increasingly targeting and supplying consumers directly.
"We invested a lot of money in electric bikes," said Bradley. "In Europe it’s huge, of course, but we’re still a long way behind in the UK. Sales have not been as good as suppliers have been projecting it would be."
He added: "Our workshop is still thriving, but there are only so many hours in the day and, come October, the servicing side of the business will drop to almost nothing."
KB Cycles was previously a motor factors, KB Autoparts, founded in 1985, but then moved into bikes by becoming the North East agent for Huffy BMX. KB Cycles was established in 2006.
Elsewhere, 30-year-old eDaves Cycles of Walsall is to close by the end of the year. "We are unable to continue trading … in the current retail climate," said a statement.