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Halfords rides bicycle sales boom | Business

Halfords enjoyed a surge in bicycle and scooter sales over the Christmas period, bolstered by the popularity of electric models and its partnerships with Disney and Trunki, with a record number of children’s bikes sold.

The UK’s biggest bike retailer said sales of electric bikes and scooters jumped 96% year-on-year in the 14 weeks to 3 January. They now make up 13-14% of total sales. Overall bike and scooter sales rose 5.9% at established stores. Halfords built 86,000 bikes in the week before Christmas alone.

The firm developed a new range of Trunki folding children’s scooters and balance bikes and launched 48 children’s’ bike models overall in the past quarter.

The popularity of cycling has soared in Britain in recent years. Graham Stapleton, the Halfords chief executive, said: “People want to get healthier. People are looking for alternative modes of transport with the climate on their minds.”

He said electric bikes had lured older customers back to cycling. In the run-up to Black Friday Halfords launched what it called the UK’s cheapest e-bike, priced at £379.

The UK government confirmed in June that e-bikes would be eligible for the Cycle to Work scheme, in which staff can get bikes – tax-free – via their employers.

The new Trunki balance bikes and scooters have proved popular at Halfords.

The new Trunki balance bikes and scooters have proved popular at Halfords. Photograph: PinPep/Rex/Shutterstock

Halfords’ free bike-build service was attracting customers, Stapleton said, and the retailer had trained more than 1,000 technicians to service e-bikes and cars.

The car parts and bike firm, which has more than 400 stores, reported 1.3% growth in UK like-for-like sales for the latest quarter, with car parts sales down 2.7%. Its 300 autocentres, which offer car servicing and repairs, contributed 4.6% growth.

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The company stuck to its profit outlook of £50m-£55m for the full year, compared with £51m in the previous year. In the year to date, sales have fallen 1.2% at established stores.

The upbeat figures for the Christmas quarter are a change from last year, when Halfords issued two profit warnings and blamed flagging consumer confidence for a slump in sales. Cycling sales suffered last summer as the previous year’s sustained heatwave was not repeated.

Halfords said motoring sales over the festive period had again been affected by weak consumer confidence, which had put customers off buying bigger technology items such as high-end audio equipment, dash cams and satnavs, while sales of essentials including bulbs, blades and batteries held up.

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