Halfords has revealed plans to buy and sell second-hand bicycles in a move to bypass shortages and shipping disruption.
The major retailer will soon offer customers up to £250 in store credit for their unwanted bicycles, with plans established to fix up the bikes to sell on following a successful trial of the service.
In September, Halfords CEO Graham Stapleton said the brand's "cycling business is currently impacted by the considerable disruption in the global supply chain", but insisted "we are well-positioned to adapt and to serve our customers".
Today's news suggests a change of strategy to make the retailer less reliant on new bikes from Covid-hit factories, especially with ongoing shipping disruption.
Owners will be encouraged to upgrade their bikes, with up to £250 of store credit being offered in return.
"With demand for bikes so high, well-publicised supply chain constraints, and a cost of living crisis on the horizon, it can’t be right that so many perfectly good bicycles are being left to gather dust in sheds and garages," Stapleton said.
The news has not been welcomed by everyone, with some suggesting the scheme could impact bike donations to charities, while others raised concerns about stolen bikes being traded in.
Halfords are going to start buying and selling second hand bikes. This could have a serious impact on the donations of bikes to charities who recycle refurbish as part of the circular economy. #Worrying #Secondhand
— The Future Mrs O 🇺🇦 (@girlonabrompton) March 4, 2022
Despite reporting "acute" bike shortages, Halfords' profits almost doubled during the COVID-19 crisis.
In June, the retailer announced its annual results, including servicing more than 1 million bikes during the previous year.
Profits were up by 184 per cent to £64.5 million, driven mainly by sales in the cycling category, up by 54 per cent on a like-for-like basis, with sales of e-bikes and electric scooters near doubling.
However, at the time the company warned: "The global cycling supply chain continues to experience considerable capacity constraints, leading to low availability of bikes throughout the period.
"Whilst kids' and electric bikes have fared better, availability has been especially low in the adult mechanical category, contributing to materially lower growth rates towards the end of the period.
"We expect many of the cycling supply chain issues referred to above to continue for some time albeit, as the UK's largest cycling retailer, we are well-positioned to navigate these challenges."
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.