Cycle and motor retailer Halfords is planning to open 50 bike-only retail outlets, as the company bucks the downward trend on the High Street to announce a rise in trading profits.

Halfords has successfully piloted several Bikehut branded cycle-only stores across the south of the country, and is pleased with the results. Sales of the Halfords-only Boardman branded cycles have also been healthy, as have sales of Halford’s budget Apollo brand.

According to the company’s interim six-month trading results to September 26, Halfords generated revenue of £407.1 million, an increase of 1.6 per cent compared to the same period in 2007.

As the credit crunch sinks its teeth into the country’s economy, many people are turning to the bicycle as a cheap, effective and healthy substitute to the increasingly expensive act of motoring.

Whilst sales of new cars have tumbled to its lowest point since 1991, sales of bicycles has increased – and so, too, have the number of cycle commuters. Research published by Sainsbury’s Home Insurance on Monday stated that 3.3 million people now commute to work by bike. That’s 12 per cent of all journeys to and from work.

The Halfords Bikehut brand name has also been associated with the professional racing team which included Olympic and World Champion Nicole Cooke and British national champion Rob Hayles. Next year the team re-focuses as a male-only squad.

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