Halfords has announced that global supply chain disruptions have hit its cycling business in recent weeks, despite cycling sales rising 9.9% in the 20-week period ended 20 August 2021.
The group experienced “considerable capacity constraints” in light of ongoing disruptions, leading to low availability of bikes throughout the period. Availability was “especially low” in the adult mechanical category, though kids and electric bikes “fared better”.
Despite these ongoing supply chain issues, the group reported a total sales growth of 18.7% over two years in the 20-week period, which was largely driven by the increased scale of its autocentres business, which took a “significant” share of the growth.
The group also reported a growth in its retail motoring business, which reportedly benefited from ongoing staycation trends amid the pandemic. In addition, a “strong” growth in retail cycling was noted in the first half of the period.
Nonetheless, the group continues to tackle a “challenging” operating environment including factory production constraints and raw material inflation, general freight disruption, capacity constraints and cost inflation and supply and recruitment challenges in respect of service technicians and HGV drivers.
Looking ahead, the group said it expects many of the cycling supply chain issues to “continue for some time”, but reassured that it was “well positioned to navigate these challenges”.
In the meantime, it plans to target growth in its services and B2B businesses, alongside an improved retail motoring performance.
Graham Stapleton, CEO, said: “The first 20 weeks of FY22 delivered a strong trading performance against a hugely challenging backdrop. Our motoring business now represents 65% of our revenues and continues to go from strength to strength, driven by the increased scale of our Autocentres business, the ongoing demand for our Halfords Mobile Expert Vans, and by recent staycation trends.
“Although our cycling business is currently impacted by the considerable disruption in the global supply chain, as the UK’s largest cycling retailer we are well positioned to adapt and to serve our customers, and we remain confident in the long-term outlook for the cycling market.”
He added: “The strength of our overall performance is a clear illustration of the relevance of our service-led strategy and gives us the confidence to continue with our investment plans. We remain positive on our prospects for FY22 and beyond.”