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A nail in the front tyre: Halfords reports disappointing losses in its cycling department

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Bike, car part and camping retailer Halfords posted a disappointing loss today, blaming both inclement weather and increased discounting in the greater market for an 11% decrease in cycling sales, right in the middle of what should have been the peak mainstream bike season.

The hype of the 2012 Olympics saw thousands of Brits taking to the roads on their bikes: a cycling craze that saw Halfords’ profits ride high for some time.

However, it appears that this year’s less than golden weather has deterred casual cyclists, instead pushing them back into their cars. Like for like sales rose in Halfords’ car maintenance, car enhancement and travel solutions divisions. Despite this, the final results are as glum as the weather, with overall same store sales down 1.3% in the eight weeks from July 4th to August 28th.

Jill McDonald, who took over as CEO of Halfords earlier this year, conceded that bike sales were “disappointing” but noted that the figures came “after two years of very strong growth in the category and has been partly offset by the strong growth in both car maintenance and car enhancement sales, which is a testament to the balanced nature of the business.”

Despite the disappointing figures, McDonald still expects the full year pre-tax profit to be in line with the market consensus. She revealed plans for a “complete refresh of children’s bikes and accessories alongside a series of compelling offers for customers, underpinned by continued product and service training for colleagues.

“Looking further ahead, we have an exciting pipeline of innovation for bikes and accessories and we remain confident in the medium and long-term growth opportunities in the cycling market.”

Published on Wednesday 02 September by Philip Gallagher

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