UK cycling glory drives boost in bike sales

By Pan Pylas

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Oct. 4 2012 5:05 a.m. MDT

FILE - In this Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012 file photo, gold medalist Bradley Wiggins, of Britain, competes in the men's individual time trial cycling event at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Britain’s cycling success in the Olympics and the Tour de France has put bicycle sales in a higher gear nationwide. Halfords Group PLC, which sells bikes as well as car equipment, says Thursday Oct. 4, 2012, that its bike sales have risen since Bradley Wiggins triumphed at the Tour de France in July and Britain won multiple gold medals at the London Olympic Games.

Christophe Ena, Pool, File, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

LONDON — Britain's cycling success in the London Olympic Games and the Tour de France has put bicycle sales in a higher gear, a leading seller revealed Thursday.

Halfords Group PLC, which sells transport and leisure accessories, said bike sales have surged since Bradley Wiggins in July became the first Briton to win the Tour de France and Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton helped the country win multiple gold medals at the Olympics.

Halfords said its cycling division saw same-store revenues up 14.7 percent in the quarter to Sept. 28 compared with the year before. By contrast, they were down 9.6 percent in the first quarter.

Overall, Halfords' sales in the first half of the year were 0.4 percent higher.

Investors were impressed and the company's share price jumped 14 percent.

"Halfords has proved a clear beneficiary of British cycling success," said Keith Bowman, equity analyst at stockbrokers Hargreaves Lansdown.

Despite the good news, the company remains cautious given a difficult economic outlook. Consumers are still reluctant to splash out at a time when the country remains in recession and the government is imposing austerity measures to get a grip on public finances.

"Our second half planning assumptions remain cautious given the prevailing pressures on the consumer as we approach the important winter and Christmas trading periods," Halfords chairman Dennis Millard said.

Halfords, like many British retailers has been hit hard by the recession and a profit warning in July effectively cost the job of chief executive David Wild.

Halfords said it has found a replacement, with Matt Davies joining the company with immediate effect.

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS