Halfords cycling sales hit by global bike shortage

Retailer Halfords has revealed plunging cycling sales as it suffers amid an ongoing shortage of bikes due to supply chain troubles.

The car parts and bicycles group posted a 22.8% year-on-year fall in like-for-like bike sales in the 20 weeks to August 20.

It said it saw strong growth in bike sales over the first half of the period, but that a shortage of bikes – in particular adult models – contributed to “materially” slower growth towards the end of the 20 weeks.

On a two-year comparison, bike sales were 24.2% higher, the group added.

Halfords said: “The global cycling supply chain continues to experience considerable capacity constraints, leading to low availability of bikes throughout the period.”

Shares in the firm sank more than 3% in morning trading.

The group cautioned it expects the bike supply issues to “continue for some time”, adding that it faces wider industry challenges including a shortage of lorry drivers and car service technicians, supply chain pressures, factory production constraints and cost hikes.

It sees the cycling sector add to a growing list of those impacted by the supply chain crisis, which is leaving supermarket shelves increasingly bare and forcing some restaurants – such as nationwide chain Nando’s – to shut sites and pull products off menus.

Halfords added that staffing issues across its car maintenance garages and mobile expert vans due to hiring difficulties, the so-called pingdemic and self-isolation rules also had an impact on its autocentres’ performance, though the division still saw sales rise by 26%.

But a strong performance from its retail motoring ranges amid the trend for staycationing in the pandemic helped offset the challenges, with the division seeing sales surge 26%, pushing overall retail sales up by 7.6% on a like-for-like basis while total group sales rose 10.8%.

Graham Stapleton, chief executive of Halfords, said commented: “Although our cycling business is currently impacted by the considerable disruption in the global supply chain, as the UK’s largest cycling retailer we are well positioned to adapt and to serve our customers, and we remain confident in the long-term outlook for the cycling market.

“The strength of our overall performance is a clear illustration of the relevance of our service-led strategy.”