|Industry||Online sports retail|
|Headquarters||Portsmouth, England, UK|
|Brian McBride (director) (Chairman), Will Kernan (CEO)|
|Products||Triathlon 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)|
Wiggle is a leading European online sports retailer, selling cycle, run, swim and outdoor equipment and apparel. It is based in Portsmouth, England.
The company forms part of the WiggleCRC group, which also includes Chain Reaction Cycles.
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.
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. Annual sales were £55m.
ISIS brought in Humphrey Cobbold as CEO of Wiggle in December 2009. By 2011, projected annual revenue was £118m following strong international growth helped by a weak pound. 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, with the company's overall value estimated at £200m, 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.
After an intense auction in December 2011, Wiggle was acquired by venture capitalists Bridgepoint Capital for £180m. Wiggle was now one of 6 European online sports retailers, and no 2 in the UK to Chain Reaction Cycles.
In September 2013 after the sale of the business, Cobbold stepped down and Stefan Barden (former CEO of Northern Foods) took over.
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.
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. 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.
The Wiggle and Chain Reaction Cycles brands remain distinct with their own web-sites. Proforma turnover was over £360m in 2017 and Wiggle was the largest pure-play online Sports Retailer in Europe.
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. Not only would this give WiggleCRC access to German suppliers but it created a potential ‘Brexit hedge'.
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.
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