Released this morning, Halfords’ preliminary results for the financial year to April 2nd have registered a 54% gain in cycling sales like-for-like against the year prior.
Fully capturing the pandemic period to date it provided a snapshot of the ‘bike boom’ of 2020, a year in which the also grew its cycling service department trade by 51%.
Alongside, Halfords’ performance cycling business Tredz surpassed the national chain’s tallies, recording a 66% revenue uptick and a profit growth of £7 million year-on-year. The divestment from the Cycle Republic chain directly benefitted Tredz, with much of the stock transferred to the business.
The statement indicated that cycle sales were up to 110% higher in the first half of the financial year, but declined in the second half, falling in line with a broader industry story of bikes selling through rapidly upon the Government’s green light to cycle, but latterly facing supply pressures as both production and shipping became hampered.
During the period the retailer said that it refreshed over 50% of its Adult bikes, adding exclusive own brand products. Alongside this came a branching out into e-mobility goods, a young category that recorded a 94% growth and registered several new products in stores.
Forward looking, Halfords expects demand for cycling goods to remain elevated and in the first nine weeks of FY22 retail cycling sales remained up 44% on FY20 levels for some pre-pandemic context.
“There are, however, external factors that add uncertainty to our outlook. Supply challenges for Cycling products remain acute, and a return to normal trading patterns remains highly uncertain,” offered the statement on factors largely out of the retailer’s control.
Overall the retail business grew by 9.4% and autocentres by 31.6% leading the group to an underlying pre-tax profit of £96.3 million, up 40.4%. Having enjoyed a successful period of trading the retailer opted to repay its furlough bill.
Graham Stapleton, Chief Executive Officer, commented: “We are delighted to have delivered a year of very strong financial and operational progress, especially in light of the extraordinary challenges presented by the pandemic. As ever, I would like to thank our outstanding colleagues across the business for their hard work, professionalism, and dedication.
“It was a year in which Halfords’ transformation into a service-led business was rapidly accelerated, and we were particularly pleased to achieve a record revenue performance in the strategically important area of Motoring services. We have continued to increase our scale and capacity in this area and customers can now receive our services at almost 800 fixed locations, or at home from one of our 143 mobile expert vans.
“We have also continued to lead the transition to an electric vehicle future by investing in training and technology. By the end of the current financial year, we will have trained more than 2,000 of our store and garage colleagues to service electric cars, bikes and scooters.
“Demand for our services remains strong in the new financial year, and our touring categories are currently performing particularly well given the trend towards staycations this summer. In the longer-term, we remain confident in the future prospects for the UK’s motoring and cycling markets and our ability to compete strongly in both.”