Halfords plans to close up to 60 stores even after huge rise in bike sales

The motoring and cycling retailer has already made major cutbacks this year

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Halfords has announced plans to close up to 60 stores, despite the huge increase in cycling trade during the coronavirus pandemic.

The high street cycling and motoring retailer has already been forced to make cutbacks this year, announcing the closure of the Cycle Republic chain and the Boardman Performance Centre.

Halfords has now been hit by coronavirus and will be closing a number of its 843 locations with job losses expected, The Guardian reports.   (opens in new tab)

A statement from Halfords said: “Covid-19 has materially changed the retail outlook for the coming months and has overshadowed Brexit as the emerging risk.”

The chain currently has more than 400 stores and another 300 garages, employing around 10,000 people across the UK.

Halfords is concerned about losses in the coming year, with the best-case scenario being profits falling from £53 million to £20 million.

These concerns come despite Halfords benefitting from cycling’s popularity surge during coronavirus lockdown, with the retailer seeing a 57 per cent rise in cycling-related sales.

But the decline came in the motoring side of Halfords’ business, with car servicing, MOTs and parts all tumbling.

In March, Halfords announced it would be closing its Cycle Republic high street chain and the Boardman Performance Centre in Evesham.

The decision was taken to free up money to focus on the motoring aspects of the business.

In April Halfords found a new owner for 11 of its 22 Cycle Republic stores as electric scooter retailer Pure Electric stepped in, saving 85 jobs.

The 11 Cycle Republic stores – Bristol, Birmingham, Derby, Edinburgh, Gateshead, Glasgow, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Norwich and Southampton – were due to become Pure Electric stores by early summer 2020.

No buyer has yet been found for the Boardman facility, but Former Olympian Chris Boardman said he plans to find a new owner for the performance centre.

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The Boardman Performance Centre offers a broad spectrum of cycling testing and bike-fitting, including a wind-tunnel.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.