The company's half year interim results reveal a slight revenue increase but a small drop in like for like sales

Turnover increases at Halfords

Revenue for the 26 weeks to 26 September was £407.1m up 1.6 percent from £400.7m in 2007 but representing a decrease
in like-for-like sales of 1.1 percent.

Gross profit of £210.0m was up 2.9 percent and gross margin was increased to 51.6 percent.

CEO David Wild said:

"Halfords has seen a solid trading performance. Against challenging comparatives and a tightening consumer environment, revenue grew by 1.6 percent with performance weighted into more defensive, needs driven product categories. Gross margin per cent increased by 70 basis points against the prior period, reflecting the favourable mix towards these higher margin categories and ongoing margin management strategies across all categories."

A company statement said growth was "provided by a cycling market benefiting from increased use of cycles for leisure, health and commuting. These core categories represent almost half of revenue."

Wild said: "The cycle market is enjoying a period of encouraging growth, through a combination of leisure, environmental, fitness and commuting needs. Our focus on increasing market share in both the premium cycle sector through our exclusive premium range of Boardman cycles and cycle accessories, and in children’s cycles, where our own brand Apollo range are the only cycles engineered to comply fully with the more stringent European Cycle Safety
Standards, has delivered encouraging results."

As well as standalone Bikehut stores, Halfords has recently rolled out a test store format for standalone stores in York and Norwich. Designed to look and feel more like independent bike shops than corporate stores, the Cycle Republic test format has "researched positively with customers," said Hill.

"We currently believe that there is the potential for at least 50 stand-alone cycle stores across the country."

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