Sep 8, 2020

Halfords warns second-half profits likely to be lower as bike demand wanes

A surge in staycations and demand for coronavirus-proof commuting boosted summer sales of electric bikes, scooters and roof boxes at Halfords, but the car and bicycle parts retailer warned that this and profits were likely to see a "Natural fall-off" during the winter months. Halfords expects pre-tax profit in the first half of its current financial year, for the six months to the end of September, to be between £35m and £40m, compared with £27.5m in the same period last year. Halfords is one of the retailers to have benefited from changing consumer behaviour during the pandemic, but the chain warned that winter would bring about a "Natural fall-off in the relative strength of cycling and staycation products" and that profits were likely to be lower in the second half of the year. Concern about the future has pushed the company to continue a previously announced move to downsize, which will see it close 80 stores by next year, 10 per cent of its total. Halfords tripled spending on developing its online business, which grew sales by 160 per cent to account for just over half of total revenue in the period.

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