Funding Makes Expansion Plans a Reality

Cookson Cycles

Santander helped a cycling retailer in Manchester meet their expansion needs

In Brief

  • Company turnover: over £1 million
  • Sector: Retail
  • Manchester-based bicycle shop Cookson Cycles wanted to grow in order to meet the needs of its customers and to differentiate their offering
  • Santander provided Cookson Cycles with a £100,000 term loan to fund construction of a two-storey extension to their premises, as well as more customer parking
  • While other banks were unwilling to finance a retail project, Santander took a more in-depth approach, allowing them to fully understand the company’s growth potential
  • Accommodating a wider product range, Cookson Cycles’ expansion has given the company the potential to deliver on projections for a 20% boost to their bottom-line
  • Santander helped an established retail business reach the next stage of their growth potential by expanding their premises, and providing ongoing support.

Cookson Cycles has reinvented itself as Manchester’s go-to shop for bikes and related accessories. “We bought the business a few years ago and have been trading well ever since,” says Sarah Bourne, co-owner of Cookson. “But after researching the market thoroughly we knew that customers are demanding more from retailers in this market.”

With expansion in mind, Cookson were able to add a two-story extension and new parking facilities thanks to a Santander loan. “The extension and the extra space it brings means we can deliver a better customer experience and stock a wider range of products,” says Sarah. “It was vital that we made the changes to keep ahead of the competition and we aim to increase turnover by 20% as a direct result.”

Positive and productive

Santander started its relationship with Cookson 18 months before the funding was finally agreed, at a time when the team began researching potential banking partners. Cookson’s bank at the time was not meeting the needs of Sarah and her team, who were attracted by Santander’s hands-on approach and their willingness to invest time and effort into a viable, growing business. Santander eventually became Cookson’s primary banking partner and loaned the company £100,000 for the building work. The loan was agreed after a period of thorough consultation and building works completed in February 2013.

The benefit’s of Cookson’s expanded premises is already being felt across the business, according to Santander Relationship Director Ian Bateson. “Turnover is heading north of £1 million and the new space is enabling the business to stock a wider range, which will add directly to the bottom-line,” he says. “Cookson were great to work with and it was a positive and productive dialogue all the way. This great relationship has continued since the funding was delivered.

Solid plans

Ian believes Cookson’s expansion demonstrates the viability of the UK’s retail industry and that growing businesses with solid plans are always worth investment despite the prevailing view among those financial houses who steer clear of bricks-and-mortar shops. “Banks are generally sceptical of retail because of the economy and the shift to online, but our approach is that there are winners and losers in every sector,” says Ian. “We invest the time and if, at the end of the day, we can do something then we’ll do all we can to help.”

All lending subject to status.

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Relationship Director Comments

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Turnover is heading north of £1 million and the new space is enabling the business to stock a wider range, which will add directly to the bottom-line. Cookson Cycles were great to work with and it was a positive and productive dialogue all the way. This great relationship has continued since the funding was delivered.

Ian Bateson