Belfast Telegraph

Cycle of growth will produce 30 new jobs

By Margaret Canning

Bike and cycling accessories retailer Chain Reaction Cycles has announced changes to its board as well as 30 new jobs.

The company's thriving online retail business has made it Royal Mail's biggest customer in Northern Ireland.

Based in Doagh, near Ballyclare, it began as a bike shop in Ballynure but grew through mail order and online selling, mainly due to the strategy of managing director Chris Watson, son of founders George and Janice.

Turnover in 2010 was £109m mainly due to growing online sales - though last year it opened a 10,000 sq ft store at Boucher Plaza.

It employs 600 people in total, including 365 in operations sending 40,000 parcels around the world every week.

Now it is set to create 30 new jobs over the next 12 months as it focuses on boosting its commercial department and its key areas of product, e-commerce and marketing.

There will also be some new roles in IT, a spokesman confirmed.

Furthermore, it has opened a new corporate headquarters in Mallusk and announced three new members for its operating board.

Jarlath Quinn has joined as finance director from Westland Horticulture and Michael Murdock is chief information officer after joining from the Monaghan Group.

Nick Redmond has joined as operations director from Ernst & Young.

The spokesman said: "The board at CRC has ambitious plans for the company's future growth. Following the completion of a five-year plan and a strategic review of its operating model, the existing board identified the need to broaden its expertise, bring in a new external perspective and define clear reporting lines within an expanded operating board."

The spokesman said the company had looked for directors who had honed expertise working for companies that were bigger and more complex than CRC and could bring "a new, fresh perspective" to how the company does business.

The company has also revealed that Action Cancer will be its charity partner for the next three years.

It will sponsor the charity's male health campaign, Action Man.

Jonny Beers from Chain Reaction Cycles launched the partnership with Action Cancer's Donna McConnell and Kerry Anderson.