Halfords, the UK’s biggest bicycle retailer, says that sales of bikes and accessories have continued to boom in the third quarter of its current financial year, up by a third in the 13 weeks to 1 January compared to the same period 12 months ago. There was particularly strong growth at online business Tredz, helped by it taking on the web sales side of the now-defunct Cycle Republic chain earlier this year.
In a trading update to the City today, the motoring, cycling and outdoor products company said that group revenue had shown an 11.5 per cent year-on-year increase during the period, and were up by 10 per cent for the first three quarters of the financial year.
> Halfords reports profits surge and “no sign of slowdown” in bike sales
On a like-for-like (LFL) basis, which strips out the effect of changes in the store portfolio and is used within the retail industry as a measure of sales performance, group revenue rose by 11.5 per cent in the third quarter with the strongest performance coming in the cycling segment, up by 35.4 per cent.
The company said that the performance in cycling was “driven by continued strength in Adult Mechanical, e-bikes and e-scooters, despite global container shortages and port congestion impacting availability.
“Our performance cycling business, Tredz, continued to see high levels of demand, growing 51.2% LFL over the quarter, indicating a high retention of customers from Cycle Republic, which we exited in March 2020.”
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Halfords cautioned however that there had been a slowdown in growth across the group recently, saying: “LFL rates as we exited the quarter were lower than quarter averages as increased lockdowns weakened demand and supply chain disruption delayed stock arriving into the business.”
Graham Stapleton, Chief Executive Officer of Halfords, said: “We are pleased to have delivered a strong performance under hugely challenging circumstances, including our best ever Christmas week.
“Despite a large reduction in traffic on the roads, our strategically important Autocentres business saw significant growth, with particularly strong demand for the services of our growing fleet of Halfords Mobile Expert vans.
“We are currently carrying out over half a million services and repair jobs on cars and bikes each month, and therefore continue to play an essential role in keeping the UK moving during this pandemic.
“Throughout the crisis we are privileged to have been able to offer free checks and discounts to 239,000 NHS workers, teachers and Armed Forces staff to help them keep their vehicles safe and roadworthy.
“The health and safety of our colleagues and customers remains our number one priority and I would like to offer my sincere thanks for their unwavering loyalty and support,” he added.
As for the final quarter of the year, referring to the current national lockdown in force in England since 4 January, the company said: “Although we currently anticipate a less severe impact on motoring demand relative to the spring lockdown, the cycling market is seasonally smaller during Q4 and may not fully offset the impact on motoring.”