Halfords saw sales growth of nearly 12 per cent in the third quarter, boosted by a pandemic-driven rise in cycling.
Growth in Halford’s cycling department jumped more than 35 per cent in the third quarter, boosted by a surge in sales for cycling products, e-bikes and e-scooters.
The firm’s performance cycling business Tredz grew more than 51 per cent during the same period.
Motoring sales at the business were down 8.4 per cent, which Halfords said was a pleasing result relative to UK traffic volumes falling approximately 25 per cent on pre-pandemic levels.
Autocentres sales were up 30.5 per cent, reflecting a significant increase in market share.
Halfords has remained open during the lockdown as an essential retailer. The business said it would provide an update on its position with business rates relief and the furlough scheme “when the Covid-19 situation becomes clearer”.
CEO Graham Stapleton said the business was carrying out more than half a million services and repair jobs on cars and bikes each month, and as a result was playing “an essential role in keeping the UK moving during the pandemic.”
He added: “Throughout the crisis we are privileged to have been able to offer free checks and discounts to 239,000 NHS workers, teachers and Armed Forces staff to help them keep their vehicles safe and roadworthy.”
Supply disruption could spell trouble
Hargreaves Lansdown equity analyst Nicholas Hyett said: “The combination of essential retailer status, the roll-out of Halford Mobile Expert and an online offer that finally seems to have got its act together delivered a bumper Christmas for Halfords – the best it’s ever had.
“Looking ahead lockdown 3 is clearly a headwind, since if we’re all staying home fewer cars and bikes will need the kind of minor repairs Halfords specialises in. However we think supply disruption is probably a bigger issue going into the fourth quarter – there’s nothing more frustrating than a sold out sign and lack of product availability could shift customers back towards online competitors.”