In Brief

Electric bike and scooter sales up 230% at Halfords as commuters swerve public transport

Retailer reports 59.1% rise in cycling revenues but predicts tough times ahead

A boom in the popularity of cycling during the coronavirus crisis has seen summer sales surge at Halfords.

According to a newly released trading update, the car and bicycle parts company’s sales of bikes and cycling gear rose by 59.1% in the 20-week period to 21 August. And sales of electric bikes and scooters soared by 230% year-on-year.

The boom came as many other retailers struggle to survive the economic upheaval caused by the pandemic, and is “in sharp contrast”  to Halford’s motoring business, which retreated 28.6%, says Cycling Industry News.

Overall group revenue rose by 7.5% during the period, with the retailer expecting pre-tax profit 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, the Financial Times reports.

As The Guardian notes, Halfords is enjoying a “purple patch” as shoppers buy new wheels and repair old bikes in order to avoid public transport or get out and about during “staycations”.

Company CEO Graham Stapleton said that bike sales had accelerated over the summer, with growth reaching 71% in August, and that electric bikes were proving increasingly popular.

Halfords

“The electric bike growth has been significant,” Stapleton said. “Nearly one in three of our adult bikes are electric against just 14% last year, so the proportion we are selling has almost doubled. 

“I think that’s important because with electric bikes, it is not just leisure, it is for essential use in terms of getting around and getting to work. On some of these bikes you can travel from 40 miles on one charge.”

However, while Halfords has benefited from the cycling boom during lockdown, profits are expected to fall over winter as bike demand wanes.

Stapleton said: “There is still significant uncertainty around the impact of Covid-19 and the macro-economic environment in the coming months, and as a result we are cautious on the outlook for the remainder of this year.”

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