LONDON, UK – It has just been announced that one of the UK’s major cycle retailers, Evans, is to be sold to UK-based Sports Direct, a major sports goods retailer. It marks the end of a bidding war between Sports Direct, Halfords and JD Sports, as reported in Bike Europe recently.
60 plus strong chain Evans sold bicycles, e-bikes and cycle equipment and was a very well-known name in UK cycle retailing. It employed around 1300 people around 880 of whom worked in store. However, the new owner has stated only 50% of Evans existing stores will be kept open.
New owners Sports Direct (a subsidiary of Sports Direct International plc) are fronted by controversial billionaire retail entrepeneur Mike Ashley, a figure widely reported upon in the UK media for his financial activity in many spheres. Ashley has widespread interests in high street department stores in addition to his Sports Direct stores including the August 2018 purchase of House of Fraser.
Whilst cycling goods have not traditionally been a large part of the Sports Direct portfolio, since 2017 Ashley has been sole shareholder of TriUK, which describes itself as “the UK’s largest triathlon retailer and mail order specialist” and Sports Direct also stock the budget priced cycle brand Muddy Fox.
No purchase price has been disclosed but it is reported the deal is what is known as a pre-pack administration process which allows the sale of an insolvent business before administrators have been appointed.
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