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Bike boom continues at Halfords as retailer raises profit forecast

Cycling sales were up 46 per cent in five weeks to 25 September

The boom in sales of bikes brought about by the COVID-19 crisis has continued into September according to the latest trading update from Halfords, with the car parts and cycling retailer.

The company, which sells more bikes in the UK than any other retailer, said that on a like-for-like basis – that is, ignoring changes to the store portfolio – its cycling sales had risen by 46 per cent in the five weeks to 25 September.

Halfords said that the segment’s performance reflected “the strength of our unique proposition and continual improvement in supply to meet unprecedented levels of demand.”

Across the group as a whole, Halfords said that like-for-like sales were up by 22 per cent during the five-week period, which it described as “stronger than expected.”

As a result, the business has revised it profit forecast for the first half of its 2020/21 financial year upwards to in excess of £55 million – a big increase on the £25 million to £40 million range it had forecast less than a month ago.

It’s been good news for investors in Halfords, too, with shares up almost 20 per cent today, and currently trading at around four times the price they were on 23 March when the country entered lockdown.

The company did sound a note of caution for the second half of the financial year, however.

It said: “The potential impact of second waves of COVID-19 now seems more pronounced than just a few weeks ago, and the economic impact of an end to the furlough scheme and the outcome of Brexit negotiations remains very uncertain.

“We are well placed to address any headwinds we may face and capitalise on the tailwinds as they arise,” the company added.

Halfords is due to report its interim results on 18 November.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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