Bike shortage puts the brakes on Halfords recovery


Disruptions to supply chains are causing a bump in the road for Halfords, with the retailer warning that bike shortages have started to affect its sales growth.

Britain’s biggest cycling equipment chain said that it expected a shortage of bikes to continue for some time as it faced freight disruption, capacity and factory constraints and raw materials inflation.

The low availability, particularly of adult electric bikes, has resulted in its cycling division’s sales dropping by 22.8 per cent on last year. Like-for-like bicycle sales are 24.2 per cent higher than pre-pandemic levels two years ago.

The motoring division rebounded, with a 52.1 per cent jump in like-for-like sales compared with last year, when lockdowns resulted in a steep drop in car use. Motoring sales are 24.2 per cent higher than they were two years ago as Halfords has benefited from improved market share and people buying more accessories, such as roof boxes, for staycations.

Graham Stapleton, 53, chief executive of Halfords, said that while the cycling business was “currently impacted by the considerable disruption in the global supply chain”, the group remained “confident in the long-term outlook for the cycling market”.

Halfords expects full-year pre-tax profits to be above £75 million and said that it would continue investing in its autocentres: the division has increased sales by 86 per cent on a two-year basis, helped by acquisitions and a rollout of mobile expert vans, which drive to customers’ homes for repairs. Its shares fell 8½p, or 2.4 per cent, to 342¾p.