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Profits down at Halfords after "disappointing" cycling performance

Firm has previously blamed poor summer weather for drop in sales

First-half pre-tax profit has fallen by almost six per cent at Halfords with the firm blaming ‘disappointing’ cycling performance in the second quarter for the drop. Insider Media reports that the company posted profit before tax of £46.4m for the six months up to October 2, 2015 against £49.4m for the same period the previous year despite an increase in revenue of 1.8 per cent.

Chief executive, Jill McDonald, said that while the motoring side of the business performed well and in-store service sales grew strongly, cycling performance in the second quarter was disappointing. “Given the seasonal mix towards cycling during the summer, this contributed to the decline in group profitability for the period."

The firm had previously reported decreased trading for the eight-week period from July 4, 2015 to August 28 2015, blaming poor weather and increased discounting on major brands for an 11 per cent drop compared to the same period the year before.

McDonald says the company is to launch a new strategy, called Moving up a Gear.

"Under the new strategy we will continue to invest to move from fixing the basics to enabling sustainable growth. There are a number of significant opportunities for further improvement, which include the leveraging of customer data and analytics, relentless innovation, a better shopping experience, enhanced customer service and services, and a fulfilment infrastructure for modern times.”

Earlier this week, Halfords announced that it was to launch a Sir Bradley Wiggins kids’ bike range ahead of the Rio Olympics. The new bikes will be launched in July 2016, a month before the Games.

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