Home Estate Planning Frasers’ buying spree continues as it snaps up online bike store Wiggle

Frasers’ buying spree continues as it snaps up online bike store Wiggle

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Sports Direct owner Frasers Group has bought online bike store Wiggle out of administration, betting that demand for bikes will eventually recover.

The purchase by the Mike Ashley-owned retail giant, which has a long track record or buying distressed high street and online brands, will see Wiggle join a growing cycling portfolio at Frasers, which currently includes Evans Cycles and Probikekit.

According to The Sunday Times, the buyout, which is said to have been for less than £10m, included the brand and intellectual property of Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles, after the two platforms merged in 2016.

Wiggle collapsed last October buckling under debts of £155m. Its acquisition by Frasers is likely to result in 447 members of staff losing their jobs.

Frasers, now run by Ashley’s son-in-law Michael Murray, is said to be particularly keen on harnessing Wiggle’s large digital and social media footprint. The brand has over 220,000 followers on Instagram and 625,000 on Facebook, considerably more than any of Evans Cycles accounts.

Frasers Group declined to comment. Wiggle was contacted for comment.

The cycling industry has largely struggled to adjust to oscillating demand since the onset of the pandemic. Last week Halford’s was forced to issue its second profit warning in two years, as demand continued to languish below the company’s expectations. The high street firm blamed bad weather and consumers purchasing bikes on credit for slow sales.

Meanwhile supply chain issues meant some retailers struggled to capitalise on the major uptick in demand for bikes and cycling equipment during lockdowns, leaving them with large amounts of stock just as demand tapered off.

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