Retailer Halfords said today that underlying sales of cycling goods surged 59.1% in the 20 weeks to August 21, as people continued to shy away from public transport during the coronavirus pandemic. 

It said group like-for-like sales rose 5%, with the strong performance in cycling partially offset by a 28.6% fall in motoring products sales, with car journeys limited by the crisis. 

Assuming expected demand levels in September and stability in the relative value of the US dollar, the company said its first-half underlying pretax profit was forecast to be £35-40m. 

Halfords cautioned that "significant uncertainty" remained for the second half of its 2020-21 year. 

"Given the natural fall-off in the relative strength of cycling and staycation products during winter months, alongside a difficult economic outlook, H2 FY21 profit before tax could be significantly lower than H1 FY21," it said. 

Halfords highlighted sales of electric bikes and scooters, up 230% year-on-year, and a strong performance in overall online sales, which jumped by 160%.