WiggleCRC closes international shops to 'solely focus' on the UK as it searches for buyer

Administrators cite economic impact of Brexit as retailer cuts trade overseas

Wiggle logo on a green background
(Image credit: Wiggle)

Online retail giant Wiggle Chain Reaction Cycles (WiggleCRC) is shutting down its international web shops to focus on trade in the UK. 

The decision comes as the company, which entered administration last month, continues its search for a buyer. 

The Portsmouth-based retailer has until now shipped throughout the EU, with online customers as far away as Australia.

According to WiggleCRC's administrators, FRP Advisory, Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles' international shops will close "over the coming weeks". 

In a statement shared with Cycling Weekly, the administrators said: “To ensure that WiggleCRC is in the best possible position to build on its core strengths and market leading position, the decision has been taken to pivot the business model to solely focus on the UK domestic market which currently accounts for 85% of the group’s revenues.

“The international Wiggle and Chain Reaction web shops will therefore be closed over the coming weeks.” 

In WiggleCRC's latest accounts, which cover the year to 30 September 2022, the directors pointed to a fall in international sales caused by Britain’s exit from the EU. 

“International sales declined by 26%,” chief finance officer Adrian Bruce wrote, “driven mainly by the full year impact of Brexit reducing sales into EU, where higher duty and fulfilment costs has necessitated higher pricing.” 

This sentiment was echoed in the new statement from WiggleCRC’s administrators, which read: “[The international] part of the business has been impacted by a range of economic factors including rising international air freight costs and Brexit.”

Still, the administrators are “progressing swiftly” with the sale of the company, explained Tony Wright, partner at FRP Advisory. 

“The UK market is core to WiggleCRC’s proposition where it remains the market leader and is a powerful driver for the business’ profitability and current trading performance,” Wright said in a statement. 

“This has been incredibly attractive to interested parties and we are progressing swiftly with the sale process.”

Cycling Weekly understands from multiple sources that there are up to nine parties who have expressed interest in buying WiggleCRC, the most prominent of which being Halfords and Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group. The administrators declined to comment on this. 

WiggleCRC will continue to honour outstanding sales, returns and warranty obligations for international customers. All operations are said to be “running as normal” in the UK. 

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