Halfords to start selling secondhand bikes

Halfords is moving into the increasingly lucrative market for second-hand bicycles, offering customers up to £250 for their unwanted two-wheelers.

The company estimates there are 7m bicycles slowly rusting away in Britain’s sheds and garages. It plans to do them up and then sell them from its network of stores after a successful trial of the service.

The pandemic has encouraged some commuters to avoid public transport, leading to a flurry of car and bike-buying.

Like many items, the cost of new bikes has been rising following soaring steel and shipping prices. Late last year, Halfords said it was running short of some models following production problems at Covid-hit factories, a lack of lorry drivers and shipping disruption.

The Halfords scheme is geared towards bike owners upgrading their bikes, with the payment for their bike being made as a store credit.

Graham Stapleton, the retailer’s chief executive, said: “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.”

The rise in prices means the value of the bike market has swelled during the pandemic to £2.3bn in 2020, up 45pc on the previous year. Halfords’ own bike sales rose 54pc for its financial year to June.

The company is betting would-be cyclists will be more comfortable buying a second-hand bike from a high street chain than an online marketplace or social media, where most can be found.

According to market researchers Mintel, almost a quarter of those buying a bike last year purchased a second-hand model, up from 17pc in 2020.

Halfords plans to buy conventional bikes rather than electric models. The higher price of bikes and the swell of new cyclists combined with more streets being designated as part of Low Traffic Neighbourhoods also led to a rise in thefts, with 86pc more bikes being stolen in one London borough last year, as gangs stole cycles locked up outside homes.

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