Wiggle Ltd

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

WiggleCRC Group
IndustryOnline sports retail
HeadquartersPortsmouth, England, UK
Area served
Key people
Brian McBride (director) (Chairman), Will Kernan (CEO)
ProductsTriathlon equipment. Bicycles, components and accessories. Running shoes and apparel. Swimming products. Outdoor and casual sports apparel. Tools etc.
Revenue£400+ Million (WiggleCRC Group)
Number of employees
c.900 (WiggleCRC Group)
Websitewww.wiggle.co.uk Edit this on Wikidata

Wiggle is a leading European online sports retailer, selling cycle, run, swim and outdoor equipment and apparel. It is based in Portsmouth, England.[1]

The company forms part of the WiggleCRC group, which also includes Chain Reaction Cycles.

Wiggle Ltd[edit]

The origins of Wiggle trace back to a local bike shop called Butlers Cycles, located in Portsmouth. Mitch Dall, a founder of Wiggle, bought the shop in 1995.

Wiggle started officially trading on 28 May 1999, with an initial investment of £2000 from Mitch Dall and Harvey Jones.

Between 1999 and 2009, Wiggle experienced strong growth, experimented with online retail, and experienced strong growth.[2]

By 2006 Wiggle was turning over £11.8m and ISIS Equity Partners took a 42% stake in the company. After a further 3 years of 40% growth ISIS bought the remaining 58% in 2000, including Mitch Dall's remaining 26 percent stake.[3] Annual sales were £55m.[4]

ISIS brought in Humphrey Cobbold as CEO of Wiggle in December 2009. By 2011, projected annual revenue was £118m[5] following strong international growth helped by a weak pound.[6] Andrew Bond, the former CEO of Asda, was hired to help this process.

In 2011 ISIS considered taking the company public in an initial public offering,[7] with the company's overall value estimated at £200m,[8] and pre-tax profits having risen from £7.1m to £10.2m in the year to January 2011, following a 123 percent increase in international sales.[4]

After an intense auction in December 2011, Wiggle was acquired by venture capitalists Bridgepoint Capital for £180m.[9] Wiggle was now one of 6 European online sports retailers,[10] and no 2 in the UK to Chain Reaction Cycles.[11]

In September 2013 after the sale of the business, Cobbold stepped down and Stefan Barden (former CEO of Northern Foods) took over.[12]

In 2015, the company consolidated its 3 owned and 1 rented warehouses in Portsmouth to a newer larger 320,000 sq ft facility in Wolverhampton.

In 2015, Andy Bond stepped down and Brian McBride joined as Chairman. McBride was formerly the CEO of Amazon UK and is the Chairman of the online fashion clothing retailer ASOS. He is also SID for online appliance retailer AO – formerly Appliances Online.[13]


The merger of Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles was announced in 2016, by this time No1 and No2 largest global online players in the cycle and Tri sports product categories .[14][15]

In late 2016 Stefan Barden was replaced by Will Kernan [16] as the new Group CEO [17][18] - Kernan was previously the CEO of The White Company, and before that the Group MD and COO at New Look

The WiggleCRC Group formed after the Competition Commission approved the merger and Wiggle bought 100% of the Chain Reactions Cycle equity from the Watson family for £62m.[19] A key driver of synergies was the closure of CRC’s Northern Irish warehouse and distribution infrastructure whose volume was integrated into Citadel in Wolverhampton, this process was concluded in December 2017.[20]

The Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles brands remain distinct with their own web-sites. Proforma turnover was over £360m[21][22] in 2017 and Wiggle was the largest pure-play online Sports Retailer in Europe.[23]

On the 23rd of October 2017 it was announced that WiggleCRC had bought a German competitor and market no.2, Bike 24 for a reported £100m.[24][25] Not only would this give WiggleCRC access to German suppliers but it created a potential ‘Brexit hedge'.[26]

Group Proforma sales are now believed to be about £500m and it was announced that the Bike24 brand and websites will continue alongside the Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles websites.


  1. ^ "Merged Wiggle-Chain Reaction is same size as Halfords' bike division". BikeBiz. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  2. ^ Sibun, Jonathan (6 October 2010). "Wiggle thanks 'middle aged man in lycra' for record profits". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  3. ^ Wood, Zoe (22 October 2011). "Wiggle considers IPO as cycling becomes the new golf". the Guardian. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Wiggle founder rides off". The Daily Telegraph. 2 May 2009. Retrieved 9 November 2015.
  5. ^ "2012 Annual review" (PDF). bridgepoint.eu.
  6. ^ Monaghan, Angela (18 December 2011). "'Staycations' and weak pound have boosted British trade, says Bank of England". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  7. ^ Zoe Wood. "Wiggle considers IPO as cycling becomes the new golf". The Observer. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  8. ^ "Wiggle cycles to flotation or sale". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  9. ^ "Subscribe to read". www.ft.com. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  10. ^ "What's the best online store for road cycling gear? | Cyclingnews Forum". forum.cyclingnews.com. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  11. ^ "Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles are set to merge: So how did we get here and what does it all mean? | CyclingTips". CyclingTips. 15 February 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  12. ^ "Humphrey Cobbold leaves Wiggle CEO role". BikeBiz. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  13. ^ "Wiggle appoints Brian McBride as chairman". Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  14. ^ "Wiggle and Chain Reaction merger moves closer to completion after CMA clearance - Cycling Weekly". Cycling Weekly. 30 June 2016. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  15. ^ "Merger of Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles approved - MBR". MBR. 1 July 2016. Retrieved 6 June 2017.
  16. ^ Leroux, Marcus (2011-12-07). "Business big shot: Will Kernan". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2018-08-17.
  17. ^ "Wiggle poaches The White Company boss Will Kernan". Retail Week. Retrieved 2018-08-17.
  18. ^ Stevens, Ben (2017-02-03). "The White Company's boss departs for Wiggle role - Retail Gazette". Retail Gazette. Retrieved 2018-08-17.
  19. ^ Carey, Brian (5 November 2017). "Watson clan cycle off with €50m in cash after sell-out". The Sunday Times. ISSN 0956-1382. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  20. ^ "Local bike shops look away now - reports of worsening losses at Wiggle are exaggerated". road.cc. 29 September 2017. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  21. ^ "WIGGLE LIMITED - Filing history". beta.companieshouse.gov.uk. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  22. ^ "CHAIN REACTION CYCLES LTD - Filing history". beta.companieshouse.gov.uk. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  23. ^ "Data: Top 25 pureplay retailers by sales". Retail Week. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  24. ^ "WiggleCRC acquires German rival Bike24 in reported £100m deal - Cycling Weekly". Cycling Weekly. 23 October 2017. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  25. ^ "WiggleCRC makes £100m move on German rival Bike24". BikeBiz. Retrieved 28 March 2018.
  26. ^ "Brexit and the bicycle: What does the UK's departure from the EU mean for cycling?". Cyclist. Retrieved 28 March 2018.