Bicycle and car maintenance retail chain Halfords has recorded growth, with cycling performing strongly for the firm once again.
Like-for-like, cycling revenues rose 5.7 per cent in 2011 (and rose 8.7 per cent in Q4 2011).
Premium and children's bike categories were the main drivers, the retailer said.
"In Q4 we continued to see progress in our key Retail growth areas of Cycling and Fitting, as well as Autocentres," commented CEO David Wild. "We are especially pleased that at a challenging time for motorists, they are increasingly turning to Halfords for their diverse after-care needs."
Total Halfords Group revenue slipped slightly by 0.8 per cent in 2011, year-on-year (up 0.3 per cent in Q4 2011). Car maintenance fell 4.5 per cent in 2011, while the car enhancement category dropped 11.6 per cent in 2011, y-on-y. Conversely Halfords Autocentres saw a yearly rise of 13 per cent.
2012 and beyond
The retailer warned of the continued challenging outlook in 2012 and even further ahead in 2013, where the "consumer environment is expected to remain challenging, particularly for the motorist".
It added: "We also anticipate a particularly buoyant, albeit competitive, cycling market this year given the strong interest in Team GB at the Olympics, and our trading plans reflect the intention to maintain our market-leading position."
CEO Wild said: "The UK consumer outlook for FY13 is uncertain and the continued rise in fuel prices remains a concern. Our actions have reduced input-cost inflation, but retailers face a rise in operating costs. While we have historically demonstrated an ability to alleviate these it may be more difficult this year.
"The strong performance from our growth areas provides an attractive route to strengthen our business. We are investing to drive our strong brand even further by developing our fitting resources, increasing marketing and enhancing our multichannel offer.
"Investing in these opportunities will accelerate the evolution of Halfords from a traditional retailer to a contemporary provider of products and services, and will contribute future growth."