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Halfords warns of “acute” bike shortage – despite booming profits

Profits double at car parts and cycling business during lockdown, but there are supply issues ahead

Halfords has warned of an “acute” bike shortage due to global demand and supply chain issues, despite seeing its profits nearly double during the COVID-19 crisis.

The bike and car part retailer and servicing company said today as it announced its annual results that it had serviced over 1 million bikes during the past year as people turned to two wheels during the pandemic.

Profits were up by 184 per cent to £64.5 million, driven mainly by sales in the cycling category, up by 54 per cent on a like-for-like basis, with sales of e-bikes and electric scooters near doubling.

But chief executive Graham Stapleton said: “Supply was, and remains, a challenge, but where necessary we quickly adapted specifications and componentry to mitigate bottlenecks in production and worked with new suppliers to achieve a steady intake of bikes throughout the year.

“Covid-19 was clearly the most significant challenge faced by any retailer,” he said, “but we have also faced Brexit, container shortages, port congestion and more recently, the blockage of the Suez canal.

“Our performance not only showcases the resilience of our core business and the relevance of our strategy but also the importance of our progress in creating a more efficient and profitable business.

“The general economic outlook remains challenging, with consumers likely to be more cautious,” Stapleton added.

“The dramatic acceleration in online shopping and a more challenging economic picture have brought value into sharp focus.”

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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