Cycling market helps Halfords beat expectations

Two wheels generates like-for-like sales growth for retail chain
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The cycling sector generated 15 per cent like-for-like sales growth for Halfords in the last quarter, according to its latest interim management statement.

The period saw the retail chain achieve ‘market share progression’ in the children’s and premium bike sectors – both areas Halfords has targeted for growth.

The retail giant said performance exceeded management expectation, with group revenues up 2.8 per cent year-on-year in the 39 weeks to January 1st 2010. Like-for-like sales increased by 1.2 per cent, while continued economic weakness in international markets saw group revenues in the quarter increase by 1 per cent while like-for-like sales declined by 0.4 per cent.

The quarter also saw growth in the car maintenance sector, by eight per cent, with bulb, blades and battery fitting up over 60 per cent year-on-year.

The statement revealed that Christmas Day 2009 was the most successful ever at, as it predicted earlier last month.

Halfords CEO David Wild said: "Our key categories of car maintenance and cycling, representing approximately 60 per cent of revenues in the quarter, continue to deliver very strong like-for-like performances. We also continue to make good progress in our key service and multi-channel initiatives. The success of our radio campaign in the quarter to promote customer awareness of our unique 'wefit' proposition in car maintenance led to significantly increased service penetration.

“Reserve & Collect continues to progress and Christmas Day was our most successful ever day on We believe that Halfords brand strength allied to its leading customer offer in attractive markets will deliver sustainable earnings growth. While remaining cautious about the wider economic outlook in the near term and its impact on consumer spending, the Board is now confident in delivering full year earnings growth in line with the upper end of market expectations."

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