Halfords' revive the Cycle Republic
The specialist bike chain (arf!) was last seen in existence five years ago, but is now reborn, with Halfords reckoning that as many as 100 of the stores will be around the country in the next few years.
The first store will open in London’s Euston Tower on 12th December and Halfords claim about a quarter of their Cycle Republic shops are likely to be in the capital.
Chief executive of Halfords Matt Davies said: “We believe there is a lot of opportunity in major towns and cities across the UK and believe this will be a key driver of how we continue to generate growth for Halfords over the longer term.”
Halfords closed its eight Bikehut and Cycle Republic stores in 2009 at a cost of £1.2m as it said they did not deliver sufficient returns on their investment. However, Davies believes that the reborn cycle shops will give Halfords a presence in town centres where there's only the massive ones on the outskirts.
Halfords reported an 11.2% rise in pre-tax profits and 6.8% rise in sales for the six months to the end of September. Sales at Halfords stores open more than a year rose 6.8%, largely thanks to a 16% lift in sales of cycling gear.