Bicycles appear to be one of the few product categories to have broken the gloom among Britain’s bealeagured High Street retailers according to figures released today by Halfords.
The country’s largest bike retailer, which also specialises in motoring products, said that cycling like-for-like revenues – which excludes the impact of new stores and therefore provides a direct comparison with the previous year – rose by an impressive 15.9 per cent in the 13 weeks to 30 December. Overall group like-for-like sales were down 4.8 per cent in the period.
David Wild, Halfords chief executive officer, said the company is “continuing to grow market share in the Cycles category through the launch of new ranges and the introduction of new products. This Christmas we saw a recovery in Children’s Bikes and strong sales of Accessories.”
That performance helped Halfords leisure division being one of only two segments of the business – the other was Halfords Autocentres – to grow sales during the period, as well as during the nine months to the end of December.
Christmas is the key trading period of the year for most retailers, and few have been able to grow sales at a time when job losses, a squeeze on disposable income and lack of confidence over the wider economy have combined to put a rein on consumer spending, with even supermarket giant Tesco announcing a drop in like-for-like sales over the festive period.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.