REDDITCH, UK – North Western Europe is looking back to one of its most rainy springs and early summers. The bad weather conditions put a heavy toll on the bicycle business in this part of Europe.
After a sustained period of underperformance, including a heavy decline of bicycles sales from the wet weather in the second quarter of this year, Halfords UK CEO David Wild (photo) left the retailer with “immediate effect”. This was announced last week together with the financial results for the second quarter this year.
Exceptionally soggy early summer weather
Halfords posted a 5.6% decline in group sales over the 13 weeks to June 29, with the exceptionally soggy early summer weather having a “material impact” on its cycling and other leisure revenues. As a result cycling revenues declined by 9.6%.
“Most uncertain trading conditions”
“Referring to the economic downturn and recent rain these are about the most uncertain trading conditions I have experienced in my career”, said Dennis Millard who will now lead the retailer as its executive chairman until it finds a replacement.
While demand for premium bikes, such as its exclusive range from Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton, has been robust at Halfords, the wet weather has hit sales of family bikes for adults and children. Bradley Wiggin’s victory in the Tour de France will certainly push up sportive bicycle sales in the months ahead.
The change of management at Halfords UK marks a transformation in the company’s strategy to a growing service orientated organization. 60% of Halfords UK’ revenues, including sales of bikes, the fitting of car bulbs and batteries, as well as car maintenance now have a service element. The new executive has to be experienced in both service-led business, as well as retail.