A NORTH-EAST branch of a bicycle retailer is set to close after being taken over by Sports Direct. .

The Durham branch of Evans Cycles, in Abbey Road, is one of six stores to close following the purchase of the chain by the Mike Ashley-owned company.

Steve Trowbridge, chief executive of Evans Cycles, said: “We hope landlords will be reasonable and support our turnaround plan, now that we have stability due to backing from Sports Direct.

“However, we must remain competitive, and sadly we are now in consultation with staff at these stores.”

Stores in Braehead, Brentford, Fulham, Holborn and Kendal are also facing closure.

The Sports Direct Group, which bought Evans Cycles for £8m, says it hopes to save half of the chain’s 62 shops.