Halfords today said it plans to close its Cycle Republic stores to focus on its largely online Tredz business and its Halfords retail cycling business instead.
The move follows a review of Halfords’ cycling business, first signalled in November. It says its plans to close Cycle Republic shops reflect “the challenging economics of a store-based dedicated performance cycling operation”.
Halfords said that the cycle enthusiasts who buy its performance cycling goods remain important for the business, but rather than spreading investment in that area across both Cycle Republic and Tredz, it now plans to focus all its investment in Tredz, which operates three shops in Swansea and Cardiff. Meanwhile, its Halfords retail business will serve the mainstream cyclist. This approach, said Halfords, will make it “uniquely placed to serve both the enthusiast and the mainstream customer in a more economic way than we do today.” In the year to March 29 2019, Cycle Republic made a loss of £4.3m. Halfords expects the closure to cost it between £25m and £35m, including retail store leases.
It is currently consulting with the 226 members of staff who work in its 22 Cycle Republic shops and at its Boardman Performance Centre in Evesham, and aims to reduce redundancies where possible.
Halfords chief executive Graham Stapleton said: “The board has come to the difficult, but necessary, decision to propose the closure of Cycle Republic, our retail store-focussed performance cycling brand.
“This proposal is not a reflection of the hard work of our Cycle Republic colleagues, who I would like to thank for their commitment and passion in serving our customers. We are now moving into a period of consultation with impacted colleagues with a view to mitigating as many redundancies as possible.
“Going forward we propose to focus our investment and resources in Halfords and Tredz, through which we will deliver market-leading specialist propositions for both mainstream and enthusiast cyclists via a business model that improves our overall economics."
Halfords is a Top50 retailer in RXUK Top500 research.
Image: Screenshot of cyclerepublic.com