Halfords' performance in the cycle retail sector returned to growth in Q2, according to results released from the huge bricks and mortar and online retailer.
Cycling (now separated out from the leisure category by the retailer) rose 14.7 per cent in Q2 compared like-for-like with Q2 in the previous financial year – a noticeable return to growth for the sector after a tough Q1, where cycle sales dropped 9.6 per cent like-for-like with Q1 in the previous financial year. The negative Q1 results coincided with the departure of CEO David Wild (see below).
Overall like-for-like revenue was up 5.6 per cent in Q2 for Halfords Group in the results, which covered the 26 weeks until September 28th 2012.
While the weather is, as those results appear to prove, a key factor in determining cycle performance at retail, Halfords also attributed the strong performance to sporting events, including the Tour de France and London 2012 Olympics where GB cyclists performed strongly, and benefited from huge media exposure across the country.
“Our trading stance together with the actions we took to capitalise on a successful summer of sport and improved weather meant we delivered a stronger Retail top line in the period, recovering some of the ground lost in the spring," said chairman Dennis Millard.
"Our second-half planning assumptions, however, remain cautious given the prevailing pressures on the consumer as we approach the important winter and Christmas trading periods.
"By continuing to build on our service ethic and investing further in training and support for our colleagues, we aim to improve the quality of service for our retail customers and thus drive sustainable medium-term growth. Amongst a number of initiatives to support our customer-service delivery, we have recently recruited over 450 new fitting colleagues and retrained existing colleagues to help grow sales of Retail wefit solutions.
"The management team continues to focus on active trading, cash generation, prudent cost management and executing against material opportunities to drive long-term value.”
Halfords appoints new CEO
Following the departure of David Wild in the summer, Matt Davies has been installed as Halfords chief executive officer. Davies was formerly CEO of Pets at Home during a time when the retailer doubled its store count and became a 'market leading force' (according to Retail Week). The appointment has been hailed as "excellent" by city broker Seymour Pierce, according to Proactive Investors.
Halfords currently has a whopping 467 stores in the UK, as well as a substantial number of Autocentres.