In a year that risks turning into an annus horribilis for the cycling industry, it is being reported that UK-based online retailer ProBikeKit (PBK) is set to close. According to BusinessLive, PBK is shutting following a review by its parent company THG.
On Tuesday, April 4, the Manchester-based e-commerce giant reportedly informed its staff that 180 jobs at THG Studios were at risk, following the closure of its OnDemand division. At the same time BusinessLive reported that PBK (opens in new tab), which THG bought in 2013, was also set to close.
“Following a strategic review of our OnDemand division, as announced in THG’s trading update of 17 January 2023, we can confirm that we are proposing to discontinue operations in the OnDemand division across all sites,” said THG in a statement.
The reported demise of PBK comes after major UK distributor Moore Large and brands Velovixen and Milltag entered administration. In the UK bike sales are reportedly at their lowest level for 20-years.
The year saw no better a start in the U.S. where bespoke bike brand Parlee filed for bankruptcy, apparel brands like Machines for Freedom and Kitsbow closed up shop, and U.S. bike giant Specialized laid off staff as the downturn in the global economy bites and the surge in demand for cycling products caused by the pandemic fades.
PBK has been part of the online cycling retail landscape since the 1990s, launching at a similar time to websites such as Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles. As well as selling products from leading cycling brands, PBK also had a product line of its own.
“We are currently consulting with impacted colleagues and will take steps to minimise the number of redundancies. We are also consulting with certain colleagues in THG Studios where, following the closure of OnDemand, we expect associated workflow to reduce proportionately,” the company said in a statement.
“THG is committed to supporting all affected colleagues and, where possible, we will endeavour to find colleagues alternate roles within the wider THG Group.”