Halfords revealed group revenue increased 7.9% in its first quarter as cycling sales were boosted by interest in the Tour de France.
The car parts and cycling specialist posted retail sales up 7.7% in the 13 weeks to June 27 and revenue at its Autocentre garages business jumped 9.4%. Retail like-for-like sales grew 7.9%.
Cycling was the star performer in the period with like-for-likes up 21.3% in the 13-week period. That was partly because of the excitement around the Tour de France, which kicked off at the weekend. Halfords said car maintenance like-for-likes rose 0.5% because of tough comparatives in car part sales.
Car enhancement like-for-likes edged up 0.1%, with car cleaning sales up 16.2%, mitigating declines in Sat Nav and audio equipment. Meanwhile, travel solutions like-for-likes increased 4.3%.
Halfords’ online sales increased 13.1%, driven by its cycling category.
Halfords chief executive Matt Davies said: “Halfords continued to drive top-line growth in the quarter, with the cycling category delivering another exceptional performance. Our actions resulted in growth across all elements of cycling, reflecting our continued focus in the category, enhanced by favourable weather and increased interest in the Tour de France.”
In the period Halfords, which exclusively sells Boardman Bikes designed by champion cyclist Chris Boardman, acquired the Boardman Bikes business. It also launched its Car Parts Direct website, to provide an express car parts service to customers.
Davies said they “had a negligible effect on the sales performance but are illustrations of our intent to grow our authority in cycling and auto”.