// Evans Cycles confirms 8 store closures since Sports Direct takeover
// CEO said the review process was nearing its end and total count is well below initial fears of 31
// Sports Direct acquired Evans Cycles out of administration in October last year
Evans Cycles has said that only eight of its stores will end up closing down following its sale to Sports Direct, well below initial fears that 31 stores were facing the axe.
According to Press Association, five Evans Cycles stores have already shut down, with another three earmarked for closure by the end of this month.
The cycling retailer also confirmed that its closure process was nearing its conclusion.
When the Mike Ashley-owned retail company bought Evans Cycles out of administration for £8 million in October, a turnaround plan for the chain revealed that up to half of its 62 stores would close down.
This placed around 600 out of the total 1300 staff members at risk of losing their jobs.
The stores that have already closed down are located in Brentford, Fulham, Holborn, Kendal and Spitalfields.
The three additional stores slated for closure by March 22 are all in London, located in Victoria, Crouch End and Mark Lane in The City.
“Following the purchase of Evans Cycles by Sports Direct, we have been undertaking a detailed review of the store portfolio to ensure each store is profitable and sustainable long-term for the business,” chief executive Steve Towbridge told Press Association.
“The stores review process is now nearing a conclusion but unfortunately we have been unable to reach a satisfactory agreement with the landlords of our stores in Crouch End, Mark Lane and Victoria.
“Where possible, we will redeploy staff based at these stores to other areas within the business.”
Trowbridge added that Evans Cycles now was looking to expand again.
“In total, just eight store closures have been announced since the business was purchased,” he said.
“We are now turning our attention to returning to profitability and moving forward.
“Overall, this is now a period of growth for Evans Cycles as we look to improve our performance and focus on new store openings – two sites in Shirebrook and Glasgow are due to open in the next two months.”
Evans Cycles had put itself up for sale last September after now-former owners, private equity firm ECI Partners, appointed PwC to advise it on a financial restructuring and manage the sale.
PwC was reportedly in talks with a number of potential bidders, including JD Sports and Sports Direct, but Halfords emerged as the most likely suitor to take over the chain after it tabled an offer.
However, things took a turn when Halfords ended discussions with Evans Cycles’ advisers, paving the way for Sports Direct to make a swoop.
When Evans Cycles fell into administration, it was immediately sold to Sports Direct in a process known as pre-pack administration.
The firm had acquired House of Fraser through a similar process a few months prior.