Poor summer sales for Halfords put down to bad weather and Brexit

Underperforming stores likely to close as online sales increase

Market leader Halfords has issued a profit warning, putting plummeting sales down to inclement summer weather and consumer concerns over Brexit.

The UK’s biggest bike retailer, which also deals in car repairs and maintenance, has seen a 3.9 per cent decrease in revenue so far this year, blaming a “challenging retail backdrop”.

Cycle sales have been down 1.1 per cent so far this year, with automotive related sales making up the lion’s share of the decrease, down 5.9 per cent.

Halfords has said that it expects profits, before tax, to drop to between £50 and £55m compared to £58.8m in 2018.

Share prices have fallen by over three per cent, the lowest in the last year and the chain’s market value has dropped from £770m in April 2018, to £343m as of Tuesday September 4.

Online sales, comparatively, have been up by 8.4 per cent with 85 per cent of internet shoppers choosing to collect their items in store.

“After the hottest summer in 100 years last year we weren’t expecting to see massive growth in cycling sales this year,” said Graham Stapleton, the chief executive.

“We don’t think there is a structural issue here, we think there is a consumer confidence issue affecting the timing of some spending, with some weather.”

He added that political uncertainty over the UK’s exit from the EU had an impact, saying: “We believe the economic and political uncertainty will continue to impact big-ticket discretionary spend,” he said.

Stapleton added that underperforming shops would close later in the year, on a “case-by-case basis”

Late last year, cycling retailer Evans Cycles found itself saved from hot water when Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley stepped in to take over the business.

His action plan included the closure of around 50 per cent of the stores owned by the 1921 founded businesses.