Evans Cy­cles stores to close in Sports Di­rect turn­around plan

Western Mail - - SATURDAY BUSINESS -

SIX Evans Cy­cles branches are fac­ing clo­sure in the first wave of changes un­der the com­pany’s new owner Sports Di­rect.

Stores in Brae­head, Brent­ford, Durham, Ful­ham, Hol­born and Ken­dal are likely to shut down.

Mike Ash­ley’s Sports Di­rect bought the re­tailer out of ad­min­is­tra­tion in late Oc­to­ber, say­ing it ex­pected to keep roughly half the stores open.

Evans em­ploys 1,300 peo­ple and has 62 sites.

Steve Trow­bridge, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Evans Cy­cles, said: “We hope land­lords will be rea­son­able and sup­port our turn­around plan, now that we have sta­bil­ity due to back­ing from Sports Di­rect. How­ever, we must re­main com­pet­i­tive, and sadly we are now in con­sul­ta­tion with staff at these stores.”

Sports Di­rect said it was en­gag­ing in pos­i­tive dis­cus­sions with land­lords in its bid to save at least 50% of the stores.

It comes in the same week that Mr Ash­ley told MPs a new dig­i­tal tax must be im­ple­mented to save the high street.

The ty­coon said any re­tailer that makes more than 20% of its sales on­line should be sub­ject to an ad­di­tional tax.

“The in­ter­net is killing the high street,” he told a select com­mit­tee.

It emerged that Evans had hit fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties in Septem­ber af­ter it held talks with lenders to seek an ur­gent cap­i­tal in­jec­tion.

It was the cul­mi­na­tion of a dif­fi­cult year in which ex­tended win­ter weather hurt trad­ing and a lack of cash­flow pre­vented in­vest­ment.

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