Halfords has appointed a managing director at its Cycle Republic division as it continues expansion plans for the revived specialist chain.

Peter Kimberley, previously Cycle Republic’s divisional director, stepped up to the newly-created role last week. Kimberley joined Halfords from Evans Cycles in March last year to establish the unit, which is aimed at more serious cyclists.

Halfords has benefited from investment in the chain after last month reporting a 3.5% rise in group sales helped by rising sales of premium bikes. Cycle Republic, which offers high-end bikes and kit and servicing, was revived late last year after Halfords had previously closed its eight Bikehut and Cycle Republic stores in 2009.

Kimberley said: “It has been hugely exciting and rewarding to establish the Cycle Republic team and build the business. It’s fantastic to see it come in to its own.”

The eighth Cycle Republic opened in Bristol last week and Halfords is aiming to have 15 of the stores this financial year. Last November Halfords then chief executive Matt Davies said he saw scope for up to 100 of the stores.

A Halfords spokeswoman told Retail Week a number of new stores are planned in the “next few months”, but did not give more detail.