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Halfords shifts focus to car repairs as bike sales fall

Retailer Halfords has seen strong demand for motoring maintenance and servicing boost sales, but said retail trading was held back by unsettled summer weather and falling consumer confidence (Halfords/PA) (PA Media)
Retailer Halfords has seen strong demand for motoring maintenance and servicing boost sales, but said retail trading was held back by unsettled summer weather and falling consumer confidence (Halfords/PA) (PA Media)

Cycling now makes up only 25% of Halfordsbusiness, as the retailer aims to focus on more “needs-based” sources of revenue amid an uncertain economic environment.

Halfords said motorists were looking for cheap repairs, helping autocentre sales for the 20 weeks to 18 August up by 16.6% on last year.

Halfords noted that motoring repairs were a more reliable source of income as they tend to be needs-based, and customers are looking for cheaper options amid cost-of-living pressures.

Cycling sales fell, by 2.7%, with Halfords noting this part of the business was “adversely affected by unfavourable weather and low consumer confidence”. Overall sales were up by 7.8%.

CEO Graham Stapleton noted the high costs of car repairs, and said there was an opportunity for Halfords to offer a cheaper alternative.

"It’s been a good start to the year for Halfords, and our ongoing focus on essential maintenance and servicing is driving a strong performance in our autocentre and retail motoring business,”  he said.

“We’re continuing to do everything that we can to support our customers through the cost-of-living crisis and are determined to offer them unrivalled value.

“For instance, our research shows that motorists who use manufacturers’ franchised dealerships can pay over 50% more for repairs compared with Halfords. With the average cost of car ownership pushing £300 a month, the last thing hard pressed motorists need, is to pay over the odds for repairs.”

Investec analyst Kate Calvert said: “Good progress continues to be made with its strategy to become a one-stop-shop for motoring and return to growth. We believe this is not reflected in its valuation.”

Shares lifted by 2.6% to 191.7p.