Halfords has reported a surge in bike sales after Brits took to two wheels during lockdown to avoid public transport – but it was not enough to boost overall revenues with cars off the road.
The car parts to cycling gear retailer said it had performed better than expected since the Covid outbreak, but group sales for the 13 weeks to 3 July were -2.8% below last year and -6.5% on a LFL basis
Halfords was able to keep 335 of its 446 retail stores open during lockdown as it was deemed an essential retailer, meaning customers were able to browse online and buy or pick up orders outside the store. It has now reopened stores to the public, with queue marshalling outside the store and pre-booked slots for bike consultations to ensure distancing.
As more people return to work and Government guidance continues to suggest that people avoid public transport, the company’s motoring division is expected to recover in the coming months.
Liberum analyst Adam Tomlinson believes the group could see a further sales boost in August due to the reintroduction of compulsory MOTs.
Nicholas Hyett, equity analyst at Hargreaves Landsdown, said he believes its mix of autocentres, cycle retail and online investment “make it better suited to compete in a digital first world than most retailers”.