UK retailer Halfords sees bicycle sales surge 59% during crisis


British retailer Halfords (HFD.L) said on Tuesday underlying sales of cycling goods surged 59.1% in the 20 weeks to Aug. 21, as people continued to shy away from public transport during the coronavirus pandemic.

It said group like-for-like sales rose 5.0%, with the strong performance in cycling partially offset by a 28.6% fall in motoring products sales, with car journeys limited by the crisis.

Assuming expected demand levels in September and stability in the relative value of the U.S. dollar, first-half underlying pretax profit was forecast to be 35-40 million pounds ($46-53 million).

Halfords cautioned that “significant uncertainty” remained for the second half of its 2020-21 year.

“Given the natural fall-off in the relative strength of cycling and staycation products during winter months, alongside a difficult economic outlook, H2 FY21 profit before tax could be significantly lower than H1 FY21,” it said.

Halfords highlighted sales of electric bikes and scooters, up 230% year-on-year, and a strong performance in overall online sales, up 160%.

Shares in the group, up 9% so far this year, closed Monday at 184 pence, valuing the business at 370 million pounds.