Halfords' shares jump by 12%

Press Release   •   Jul 10, 2013 11:37 BST

The hype of the Tour de France helped boost sales of bikes at Halfords just before the start of the epic French bike race, which is now underway.

Halfords' shares jumped nearly 12 per cent, with the bike-to-car parts retailer seeing bike sales rise 15.5 per cent in the first quarter as brands endorsed by British cycling greats Victoria Pendleton and Chris Boardman proved a hit with customers.

Total retail sales rose nine per cent, helped by the drier weather compared to a year ago. Sales as its smaller Autocentres division rose 7.8 per cent although on a like-for-like basis they were down 0.9 per cent.

Online retail sales jumped 15.5 per cent, with cycling making up over half of revenues.

It is hoped Britain's Chris Froome, the current wearer of the Yellow Jersey after 10 stages, can replicate Sir Bradley Wiggins's triumph in last year's Tour.

Matt Davies, its chief executive, who joined from Pets at Home in October, admitted that the retailer was up against some weak results in the same period last year.

"Our Retail performance reflected better trading execution in areas of opportunity whilst we were up against a weak comparative period," he said.

The company is investing £100mln in revamping the ailing business, which cut its dividend by a third to fund the move. The group will also invest in staff training, improving customer service and also launching a new website by the end of the year. It warned that profits would not get back to last year's levels until at least 2016.

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