Evans Cycles poaches Dobbies Garden Centres' boss Andy King

 
Rebecca Smith
Andy King is a keen cyclist
Andy King is a keen cyclist

Evans Cycles has announced that Andy King has been appointed as its new chief executive.

King was formerly managing director at Dobbies Garden Centres, the national garden retail business, and prior to that worked at Notcutts Garden Centres, The Body Shop and Mothercare. He replaces Nick Wilkinson, who left the company earlier this year.

ECI Partners invested in Evans Cycles in May last year, snapping it up for £80m from Active Private Equity. Evans Cycles is the UK's largest specialist bike shop with 60 stores nationwide.

Read more: Punctured biking market prompts Evans Cycles owner to pump up investment

It has a partnership with former Olympic cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, developing a range of HOY bikes for children of all ages.

George Moss, partner at ECI Partners, said King brought "great knowledge and experience from a career in specialist retail".

Read more: Evans Cycles owner applying the brake after slowdown in bike sales

In August, ECI Partners invested additional funds into April Topco, the firm through which it owns Evans, to cut bank debts and provide additional liquidity, after noting Evans was dealing with a "softer cycling market" than had been anticipated. Poor weather conditions during the summer played a part, as did the fact strong 2014 comparables for the number of new adult cyclists didn't repeat in 2015. That led to a drop in sales and lower gross margins.

Mike Tomkins, chairman at Evans Cycles, said: "Evans Cycles is at an exciting stage in the company's development right now. We've seen consistently strong trading since July, especially in the bike category. Our B2B business continues to perform strongly and gain market share in the various employee tax free schemes."

The company launched a new website in spring and has plans for new store openings in 2017.

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