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Halfords profit more than doubles on British cycling boom

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British bicycles and car products retailer Halfords on Wednesday reported a more than doubling in first-half profit, boosted by a COVID-19-driven cycling boom.

The firm said it made an underlying pretax profit of 56 million pounds ($74.3 million) in the six months to Oct. 2, up from 25.9 million pounds in the same period last year.

Cycling has increased in popularity as many Britons avoid traveling on public transport during the pandemic and increasingly view it as a health and leisure activity.

Cycling products like-for-like sales leapt 54.4% in the first half. That contrasted with a 23.7% fall in motoring product sales, reflecting less car journeys during UK lockdowns.

Halfords’ garage business, Autocentres, achieved total sales growth of 38.7%.

The group said trading for the first five weeks of its second half was “relatively strong”. But it noted some impact on trading as England’s second national lockdown came into force on Nov. 5.

It is taking a cautious view on the outlook, given the seasonality of its business and the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

Shares in Halfords, up 55% so far in 2020, closed Tuesday at 262.5 pence, valuing the business at 521 million pounds.

($1 = 0.7538 pounds) 

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