Evans Cycles new owner ECI said it was attracted by the bike retailer’s strong multi-channel offering and is mulling more stores beyond its south-east stronghold.

Private equity firm ECI today acquired Evans Cycles from investment firm Active for an undisclosed sum. The deal is understood to have completed at 9am this morning after final overnight negotiations.

ECI partner Jeremy Lytle told Retail Week he was attracted by Evans Cycles’ ecommerce offering but also its nationwide store footprint. “If you’re going to buy a bike, you’re not going to do it just online,” he said.

Lytle flagged that Evans’ 56 stores are focussed around London and the south-east. “There’s plenty of room for growth,” he said.

He refused to be drawn on how many stores ECI may look to open. “It’s dangerous bandying around numbers, but there will definitely be additional stores,” Lytle said.

He also rejected the idea that the soaring interest in cycling could be classed as a “boom”. Lytle said: “We wouldn’t call it a boom, because the opposite of boom is bust. Boom is the wrong word, there’s been a steady growth in cycling and participation in cycling over the last decade and we think that’s set to continue.”

In its last full-year, Evans reported a pre-tax profit on ordinary activities before tax of £2m, compared with a loss of £98,000 the prior year.

Evans began as a family-owned business in the 1920s before being acquired by Active in 2008. Evans’ chief executive Nick Wilkinson will continue to lead the business. “We’ll be working very closely with Nick,” added Lytle.

The retailier boasts six-time Olympic champion Chris Hoy as its brand ambassador and his range of bikes are also sold in the company’s stores.