Halford biking sales deliver Tour de Force

 
Kasmira Jefford
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HALFORDS said yesterday that a stronger than expected surge in bicycle sales had propelled the retailer a year ahead of where it expected to be in its three-year plan.

Shares in the bike-to-car parts retailer jumped 10.6 per cent yesterday as it reported an eight per cent rise in sales to £939.7m in the year to 28 March, driving profits up 2.3 per cent to £72.6m.

Cycling like-for-like sales rose 19.4 per cent and accelerated by 41.6 per cent in the fourth quarter as the warmer weather sparked a surge in demand for cycling gear.

Chief executive Matt Davies said as a result, the group now expected full-year underlying earnings for 2015 to be ahead of the £103.4m achieved in 2013 – a year earlier than previously guided by Davies when he set out his three-year turnaround plan last May.

It is spending £100m between now and 2016 on revamping its stores. Davies confirmed it has asked suppliers to contribute “a few million pounds” towards this investment as they also benefit from its growth in sales.

He said he expects strong trading to continues ahead of the “summer of cycling”, with the Grand Départ of the Tour de France in Yorkshire.