Paul Joyner, Halfords' general manager of the two-wheel division, was surprised by last week's ACT's broadside. Here's his nowhere-near-as-venomous reply.

Halfords rebuts ACT’s stinging attack

Halfords, through its Bikehut retail offer is committed to the future growth and development of cycling in the UK.

Our strategy of ‘the right bike’ relies on our staff assessing and understanding our customers’ needs and ensuring that they purchase a bike, and associated products, which will guarantee an enjoyable and sustainable cycling experience. This strategy demands that we serve all significant parts of the marketplace, from first bike through to top end performance. To this end we have restructured our offer into a number of segments; ‘Off road’, the lower end MTB sector; ‘Town and Country’, the growing leisure and commuter sector; ‘Urban’, catering for the youth orientated BMX and Jump scene; ‘Kids’ and ‘toys’. For the enthusiast sector we continue to invest in both Carrera and other major bike brands in our ‘Off road performance’ and ‘Road performance’ segments. Indeed, this year has seen the introduction of a significant range of road bikes, and a reduction in the MTB range, as we reflect the needs of the enthusiast market. Halfords continues to invest in its cycling specialists, who have been retained despite the recent company restructure. The company continues to support a number of our staff that participate in high level cycle competitions. Halfords is committed to continue the roll out of Bikehuts across the chain, and to continue to develop the concept. As demonstration of our commitment to the cyclist, we sponsor the Sustrans web site, and have our own multi-discipline competitive bike team. We have also introduced a nationwide repair service, as well as participated for the first time at the Bike Show at the NEC in Birmingham. Halfords will continue to promote its cycling business through competitive prices and added value sales activity.

However, any successful business will review and change its ranges in line with commercial requirements and levels of demand. Halfords has reviewed the terms under which it is prepared to do business, and has also addressed those areas of the business where stock investment was considered to be too high in the light of customer demand. As part of that review Halfords has also taken action to introduce more stock into its stores to meet the demand on core product areas.

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