A MULTI-MILLION-pound venue which aimed to encourage residents from Evesham and further afield to saddle up and enjoy cycling will close its doors, its owners have revealed.
Under-pressure retail giant Halfords revealed the Boardman Performance Centre in Evesham and its Cycle Republic outlets will close, putting 226 jobs at risk.
Olympic champion Chris Boardman was on hand to cut the ribbon on the much-anticipated Boardman Performance Centre at The Valley in May 2018 – the first of its kind in the United Kingdom.
But Halfords dropped the bombshell this week with a statement which said the closures reflected the ‘challenging economics of a store-based dedicated performance cycling operation’.
“Exiting a low-returning, stock intensive business allows us to improve our return on capital whilst freeing up investment and resources to continue to drive our services-focused strategy, with an emphasis on accelerating the growth of our motoring businesses,” the statement read.
Writing on his Instagram page, Mr Boardman revealed his disappointment at the possible closure.
“Whilst I’m obviously disappointed the Performance Centre isn’t going to form part of our strategy going forward, I do understand the immense pressure Halfords, along with other retailers, is under right now,” he said.
“Pioneering, worlds-first things like this take courage to back and we need to remember Halfords showed leadership in enabling us to do something different and wonderful. “This was a tough decision and I know it wasn’t taken lightly. It is my hope that we can find someone who is in a position to take the centre on as a going concern.
“It’s still an amazing place and most importantly, it has an amazing team.
“That’s what I will be striving for over the next few weeks,” he added.
Halfords said attention would focus on pushing Tredz – acquired in 2016 – a mainly online performance orientated cycling arm which it says is better positioned to tap into the enthusiast segment and with a superior business model.
Consultation has started with the 226 staff affected by the proposals with a view to mitigating redundancies where possible.
In a statement Halford chief executive Graham Stapleton said: “The board has come to the difficult, but necessary, decision to propose the closure of Cycle Republic, our retail store-focused performance cycling brand.
“This proposal is not a reflection of the hard work of our Cycle Republic colleagues, who I would like to thank for their commitment and passion in serving our customers.
“Going forward we propose to focus our investment and resources in Halfords and Tredz, through which we will deliver market-leading specialist propositions for both mainstream and enthusiast cyclists via a business model that improves our overall economics.”
Halfords has 22 Cycle Republic outlets and the nearest one is in Birmingham.