Slump in bike sales hits Halfords profits in UK

Retailer Halfords has been left nursing a fall in half-year profits after seeing bike sales slump in the UK and said earnings in the next financial year were also unlikely to grow.

Slump in bike sales hits Halfords profits in UK

Retailer Halfords has been left nursing a fall in half-year profits after seeing bike sales slump in the UK and said earnings in the next financial year were also unlikely to grow.

But recently hired boss Jill McDonald put faith in a new turnaround plan to get its performance back on track, including a renewed push in the bike sector, with Olympian and Tour de France champion Bradley Wiggins signed up to launch a new children’s range.

Wiggins will help design eight bikes as part of his drive to get more children into cycling, with the range due to hit stores next July.

Ms McDonald unveiled her overhaul after a “disappointing” summer for bike sales, which dropped 7.6% on a like-for-like basis in the group’s second quarter, down by 11% between mid-July and mid-August.

It was hit by poor weather and high promotional activity, while the sales fall was also compounded by tough comparisons from a year earlier.

The result was a particular blow for the group, coming in its peak bike selling season, and contributed to an overall 5.9% fall in underlying pre-tax profits to £46.4 million for the six months to October 2. Profits were 6.3% lower on a statutory reporting basis.

The car parts and cycling chain said annual profits in its new financial year would be “broadly unchanged” on the current year, but said it expected growth for following years.

Ms McDonald, the former UK head of fast food giant McDonald’s, who replaced Matt Davies at Halfords in May, said: “Halfords is now a fundamentally strong business, operating in markets with good growth prospects.

“However the modernisation process is not yet complete. Under the new strategy we will continue to invest to move from fixing the basics to enabling sustainable growth.”

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