French sports goods giant Decathlon has said that its significantly higher UK prices for e-bikes are largely down to Brexit. The retailer has however launched a rental service to help people, “explore new sports” in a more affordable way.
Last month the Guardian highlighted the difference in pricing for Decathlon’s Riverside 500E electric bike in the UK versus the continent.
While the bike sells for £1,299.99 in the UK (around €1,520), it is priced at just €1,199 in France, Italy and Spain.
A spokesperson explained: “The UK’s exit from the European Union has made it more expensive to import stock. It also meant that Decathlon UK had to expand the size of the supply team in order to deal with the additional administration, costs and duties associated with Britain’s exit from the customs union.
“In the UK specifically, we have the obvious challenges involved in dealing with constantly changing exchange rates, coupled with the post-Brexit burden of having to pay import duties twice on a number of products (once as goods enter the EU, and again once they enter the UK).”
Decathlon has however launched a rental service through which it will offer a range of products including e-bikes.
A spokesperson said: “By renting our products instead of selling them, we can increase the usage of each item, which means we can produce less and have a lower impact on the planet. We know rental isn’t for everyone, but we want to give you the option and flexibility to enjoy different sports at a great price, whilst reducing our environmental impact.”
The firm is currently offering e-bike rentals from its Poole and Southampton stores. Prices start at £45 to rent the E-ST 100 e-MTB for a day with sliding costs for longer-term rentals. It costs £117.50 to rent the same bike for a week and £167.50 for a fortnight.
Decathlon’s rental lead, Sharon Poulter commented: “All of our rental products are refurbished or ‘like new’, creating a genuinely circular economy.
“As part of the service, we will be providing package deals, so that customers can rent everything they need for a weekend full of adventure, including e-bike and [stand-up paddleboard] or kayak combinations at a reduced price.
“I look forward to growing this proposition, giving more and more people the opportunity to explore new sports.”