A big bang occurred in the German retail landscape right at the beginning of the new year: B.O.C., which stands for Bike & Outdoor Company, the large-scale bicycle retailer operating in northern and western Germany, is acquiring 10 stores from the Bikemax chain, another big retailer that has its outlets mainly in the south. The deal is effective Feb. 1. Bikemax, a rather price-driven format, is co-branded as Bikemax and Skimax because it has a large offer of snow sports equipment.

The deal leaves B.O.C. as the country’s largest specialty bicycle retailer with a total turnover of some €120 million, which comes from its now 35 outlets, its online store, a few buying partners and two new store projects in Bremen and Hamburg with 4,000 and 5,000 square meters, respectively. In 2008, Bikemax reached sales of around €40 million.

Technically speaking, B.O.C. is acquiring the 10 stores through a newly created company, called Bike & Sport Handels GmbH & Co. KG, in which the B.O.C group controls the vast majority of shares, from Activ Sport, the company that runs the Bikemax stores. However, Activ Sport, owned by Wolfgang Oelschlegel and his son Robert, will keep two stores in Munich and at its headquarters in Weiterstadt. B.O.C. and Activ Sport have agreed to join forces in terms of common purchasing. Wolfgang Oelschlegel told SGI Europe that Bike/Skimax will keep its own branding and format.

Axel Kuhn, until now a member of the executive board of Activ Sport, will join the management of the B.O.C. group, which is led by Thorsten Kochanek and Jens Oehler. The company is owned by the Viehof family, which used to run Allkauf, a food chain which the dynasty eventually sold to the Metro Group for some €2.4 billion.

In the meantime, ten of the largest retail members of ZEG, the big German buying group for bicycles, have decided to leave the cooperative and to conduct their purchases on their own under the helm of a new alliance called Fahrrad-XXL (“Bicycle XXL”), formed in 2006. Together, they have 14 stores, each one employing 30 to 70 people.