Car parts and bike Retailer Halfords says it will create 500 new jobs as it benefits from the country's growing interest in cycling.
The Redditch-headquartered firm, which employs 12,000 staff at 465 Halfords stores and 303 Autocentres garages, said the cycling sales in the most recent quarter leapt by 21.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis, with premium bikes up 35.1 per cent.
The listed company has benefited from demand for bikes designed by former world champion Chris Boardman, whose business it acquired last month , as well as for Olympic champion Victoria Pendleton's best-selling UK women's bike range.
Halfords added that its own brands were also doing well, with every one in three bicycles sold an 'Apollo' bike.
The boost meant like-for-like sales at Halfords shops rose 7.9 per cent in the 13 weeks to June 27, with the "exceptional performance" in cycling coming at a time of broadly flat sales in Halfords' car categories.
The bike business is set for a further boost following favourable weather and interest in the Tour de France, which held its first three stages in Yorkshire and in London at the weekend in front of mass crowds.
Halfords is in the middle of a three-year investment programme that will see it spend £100 million by the end of 2016 upgrading many of its Halfords stores and its Autocentres garages.
Halfords people director Jonathan Crookall added the firm was keen to boost its cycling expertise at its stores.
He said: "Cycling is at the heart of Halfords and we're enhancing our team with the biggest ever recruitment of cycling gurus for our stores."
Chief executive Matt Davies added: "Halfords continued to drive top-line growth in the quarter, with the cycling category delivering another exceptional performance.
"Our actions resulted in growth across all elements of cycling reflecting our continued focus in the category, enhanced by favourable weather and increased interest in the Tour de France."
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