Burgeoning bike business
Formed in April 2013, Bicycle Centre is a network of independently-owned bicycle stores born out of Advance Traders, an Australian operated bike distributor.
Retailers who join the venture, which is backed by Flight Centre, rebrand as Bicycle Centre and have access to business to business offers relevant to bicycle retailing, including sales and training, store fitout, external signage, and a central web and social media presence.
In just under 18 months, 26 stores have opened under the Bicycle Centre banner, with most of the network a conversion of existing and independently run stores.
Andrew Garnsworthy, GM of Bicycle Centre, told Inside Retail PREMIUM the group aims to finish the financial year with 35 stores, which will make it the largest bike retail group in Australia. It has a longer term goal of 100 stores over the next four years.
The rollout of stores has so far been predominantly east coast-based, but Garnsworthy says the company is already in discussions with stores in Tasmania, and will open in Western Australia in the next 12 to 18 months.
“The stores are still independently-owned and operated, however, some components of the business model in terms of a common name, joint marketing, and a consistent logo, it have brought us under the franchise code,” Garnsworthy said.
He says market conditions have been flat, as many consumers remain cautious or turn to international bike retailers online instead.
“The market is very competitive, customers are electing to hold off on making large purchase decisions in some areas of the country, and in other areas things are going reasonably well, but overall it has been a flat retail market.
“People are a lot more cautious in spending, particularly in the accessories areas people are spending overseas. There’s buying advantage for them with no GST under $1000, so the rules at the moment make it a challenging environment for Australian retailers.”
While Bicycle Centre operates a common website, all stores have their own homepage. Bicycle Centre intends to enhance its online services in the coming months, adding services such as click and collect.