Halfords have launched an ambitious strategy to corner the market for cycle clothing, accessories and spares with the arrival of 185 new brands including Adidas, Lezyne and Sportful.
Today, a day after the company reported a 25 percent fall in profits to the March year end on the year before, they outlined a fight-back plan to capitalise on the buoyant cycling market.
An overhauled website selling 15,000 product lines went live earlier this week. The company also said they would increase investment in their stores and spend millions of pounds improving customer service.
The aim is to capture a section of the enthusiasts’ market – characterised by sportive riders and commuters using cycle to work schemes – while maintaining their focus on providing family bikes.
Karen Bellairs, head of cycling at Halfords, told BikeRadar that the company’s network of 460 stores gives them a unique advantage over competitors. Customers will now be able to buy online and pick up the product in store the next day, as well as having items posted to them or ordering in store and getting them delivered, she said.
“We’ve gone live with 15,000 parts accessories and clothing from over 185 brands, so we’re really excited,” she said. “Our key point of difference is using our store network to try and grow this business.” She said more than 90 percent of the UK population live with 25 minutes of a Halfords shop.
Bellairs admitted the company currently have a small share of the parts, accessories and clothing market, and have lost ground to dedicated specialists such as CycleSurgery and Evans Cycles. Halfords' success with brands such as Boardman (a new range is expected in 2014) has already helped entice many enthusiasts to shop with them, she said.
Bellairs also said it was a company goal to improve in-store service and repairs, but that the plan would take time to bring into action. The cycling market is estimated to be worth more than £700m a year and is growing at around five percent.