Halfords, the largest retailer of bicycles in the UK, saw cycle sales fall 16 per cent like-for-like in the run up to Christmas.
The firm said that fewer childrens’ cycles were given as presents and that premium bike sales had been affected by ‘the temporary slow-down in Cycle to Work sales’.
Despite the drop, group revenue increased in the 13 weeks running to December 31st 2010 by 3.5 per cent as a result of the retailer’s Autocentres acquisition in February 2010. In the trading divisions retail revenue decreased by 6.6 per cent like-for-like and Autocentres revenues increased by 1.6 per cent like-for-life.
“The cycle market was weaker this quarter particularly around Christmas gifting and Cycle-to-Work,” explained Halfords CEO David Wild. “Looking forward, we are confident that the fundamentals of the bike market remain sound. We are well positioned through the exceptional value that we offer customers, our award winning ranges and the professional repairs, servicing and expert advice of experienced in-store colleagues.
"The strong performance from our Car Maintenance category and the positive sales in our Autocentres demonstrates how customers recognise Halfords as the destination for their motoring needs. We are building on this momentum and with the launch of our 240 re-branded Halfords Autocentres this Spring we will be uniquely positioned to develop our business further in the car-servicing sector.
This year has been one of significant development for Halfords and our colleagues have worked hard on strategic initiatives across the business. These changes deliver savings, a more flexible cost base and are designed to provide a better service for our customers.
The wider economic outlook is clearly challenging for consumers but Halfords is a strong brand with a leading customer offer. We continue to focus on opportunities in the UK and ROI that will deliver long term, sustainable earnings growth."