Belfast Telegraph

Halfords bike sales sprint ahead after Team GB's Rio cycling success

The success of Britain's cycling heroes at the Rio Olympics helped retailer Halfords get bike sales back on track over the summer.

Halfords notched up a 12.5% surge in bike sales in the seven weeks to August 19 as Olympians Sir Bradley Wiggins, Laura Trott and Jason Kenny brought home a clutch of gold medals.

The car parts-to-bicycles chain said sales were also boosted by good weather, a promotional push and a "stellar" line-up of ranges launched by past and present Olympians Trott, Sir Bradley, Chris Boardman and Victoria Pendleton.

The bounceback left overall like-for-like bike sales 1.9% higher in the first 20 weeks of its financial year and marked a sharp reversal of the 4% fall seen in the 13 weeks to July 1 when it was hit by wet weather and the timing of Easter.

It also comes as a resurgent performance after a dire summer last year for the group, when bike sales tumbled in the peak selling season.

Halfords chief executive Jill McDonald hailed a "fantastic" Olympics for Britain's cycling team.

Halfords said its recent acquisition of premium bike retailer Tredz and Cycle Republic store openings also helped bike sales recover and t he group cheered its biggest ever summer week for retail sales in late July.

It said travel solutions sales rose 5.5% in the seven weeks to August 19 as drivers snapped up child safety seats and roof boxes for the holiday season.

Car maintenance s ales lifted 0.6%, driven by demand for bulbs, blades, batteries and a new motorcycle range.

But ongoing falls in satellite navigation sales left it nursing a 3.3% sales drop in its car enhancement offering.

Like-for-like sales were flat at its Autocentre garages over the peak summer season despite strong demand for battery replacements, with the group fitting one every two minutes that stores were open.

S hares in Halfords lifted nearly 2% after the update.

Russ Mould, i nvestment director at AJ Bell, said Halfords was "basking in the glow" of Team GB's Olympic success.