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Founded1892; 129 years ago (1892)
FounderF W Rushbrooke
Area served
United Kingdom and Ireland
Key people
Keith Williams
Graham Stapleton
(Chief Executive)
ProductsElectric bikes, push bikes and accessories, SatNav, Car audio, Tools, Child seats etc.
ServicesBicycle repair, vehicle part fitting, basic audio and dash-cam installations.
Revenue£1,135.1 million (2018)[1]
£74.6 million (2018)[1]
£54.7 million (2018)[1]
Number of employees
10,000 (2018)[2]
SubsidiariesHalfords Autocentre
Boardman Bikes Ltd.
Cycle Republic

Halfords Group plc is a British retailer of car parts, car enhancement, tools, camping and touring equipment and bicycles operating in the United Kingdom and Ireland. They also provide MOT, service and repairs in the United Kingdom, through Halfords Autocentre. Halfords Group is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

A similar retail company, also called Halfords, exists in the Netherlands and Belgium.[3] This only has historical ties to the British Halfords Group (it was formed by Halfords, then sold).


A Halfords in Kirkstall, Leeds (2006)

The company was founded by Frederick Rushbrooke, in Birmingham in 1892, as a wholesale ironmongery.[4] Rushbrooke moved to a new store on Halford Street in Leicester, in 1902, and the company was named after this street, and started selling cycling goods.[4] It opened its two hundredth store in 1931, and purchased the Birmingham Bicycle Company in 1945.[4]

It opened its three hundredth store in 1968.[4] The company became a part of Burmah Oil in 1965, following a takeover battle between Burmah and Smiths Industries.[4]

During this time, Denis Thatcher, husband of the future Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, was a non executive director.[citation needed] The company was acquired by the Ward White Group in 1983,[4] and subsequently acquired by the Boots Group in 1989, whom demerged from the company in April 2002.[5][4]

Openings for Halfords in Colne, as well as Great Mills, were planned by February 1997, but never happened for unknown reasons.[6]

It was then taken over by CVC Capital Partners in July 2003,[4] and in June 2004, it was floated on the London Stock Exchange.[4] Halfords dropped the blue, white and red branding in February 2003, in favour of a new, black and orange logo. However, the 'new' logo had been used since the previous year, but it did not come into effect until 2003.[7]

Halfords entered into a Collaboration Agreement with Autobacs Seven Co. on 11 July 2005,[8] a Japan based car accessory retailer with chains of stores all over the world and who is best known in other countries that do not have an Autobacs store for being the title sponsorship of Super GT and D1 Grand Prix.[9]

Autobacs acquired 5% (11,400,000 shares) of the company on 13 December 2005, at approximately ¥7.5 billion.[10]

Halfords opened its first shop in Central Europe in June 2007, in a village near Prague. In the next two years, it opened five more stores in the Czech Republic and one in Poland (Wrocław, 2008). Expansion into Central Europe was seen as an opportunity, because the cars on the road tend to be slightly older there, so people would be more adept at car maintenance.[11]

However, in March 2010, it terminated these activities already, after the losses made in the initial years were deemed too high, and a new management wanted to focus on the domestic market.[12]

The company announced a new deal, to purchase the chain Nationwide Autocentre MOT on 18 February 2010, from the private equity firm, Phoenix. The plan was to rebrand the centres under the name Halfords, and open another two hundred. As of February 2021, there are over 250 garages branded Halfords Autocentre, dealing with MOTs, car repairs and servicing.[13]

In June 2014, Halfords acquired the British bicycle manufacturer Boardman Bikes Ltd. (founded by the professional cyclist Chris Boardman, Sarah Mooney and Alan Ingarfield) for undisclosed sum.[14][15] In March 2015, it was announced that on 11 May 2015, Jill McDonald, head of McDonald's UK since September 2010, would replace Matt Davies (who was leaving to join Tesco), as CEO.[16]

Halfords acquired Swansea based Tredz Bikes, an online retailer of premium bikes and cycling accessories, and Wheelies, the largest provider of bicycle replacement for insurance companies in the United Kingdom, for £18.4m, from founders Keith and Michael Jones, on 24 May 2016. The group turned over around £32m, in the year to 29 February 2016, making a profit, before financial charges of £2.4m.[17]

Halfords announced on 3 May 2017 that Jill McDonald, CEO, had resigned from the business, to take up the position of Managing Director: Clothing, Home & Beauty at Marks & Spencer. She remained as CEO of Halfords until the end of her notice period, in October 2017.[18] Halfords made an announcement on 13 September 2017, that executive of Dixons Carphone, Graham Stapleton, would be its new CEO, with effect from January 2018.[19]


Since 2010, Halfords Retail has operated around 465 stores, of which about twenty two are in the Republic of Ireland, and the others in the United Kingdom.[20]


In 1987, Halfords sponsored the team of Professional Road Cycling, ANC Halfords, and that year, entered the Tour de France. However, the team ran out of money, at the end of the season, and officially disbanded.[citation needed]

The team won the overall BTCC Drivers Championship, in 2005 and 2006, with driver Matt Neal.[21] In March 2007, Halfords sponsored the Team Dynamics BTCC racing team, under the name of Team Halfords,[22] and in January 2008, Halfords started sponsoring a mixed professional bike team, Team Halfords Bikehut, headed by Nicole Cooke.[23]

Cycle Republic[edit]

In November 2014, Halfords announced it was going to revive its Cycle Republic chain of specialist bicycle stores, primarily focused on urban cycling and commuting, which is reflected in the brand's styling.[24] The first store was opened in London, on 12 December 2014.[25] The company's shop estate twenty two shops,[26] and an ecommerce website operation offering an extended product range, as well as financing options.[27]

The company's flagship store in Canary Wharf was opened by Olympian, Victoria Pendleton, in January 2018.[28]

Cycle Republic sponsored the racing team, Morvélo Basso, for 2018.[29] The company also provides event support at cyclo sportives around the country, including Etape Loch Ness, Palace2Palace and Velo Birmingham.[30] The company announced a new, strategic partnership with the folding bike manufacturer Brompton, in the end of 2018.[31]


  1. ^ a b c "Annual Report 2018" (PDF). Halfords. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  2. ^ "Fast facts". Halfords. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  3. ^ "A Tale of Two Halfords". The Alternative Department for Transport. 13 September 2012. Retrieved 5 June 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "And it's all thanks to a passion for a penny-farthing bicycle". London: Times Online. 30 May 2005. Retrieved 5 June 2007.
  5. ^ "Boots to send Halfords off on its bike". telegraph.co.uk. 18 April 2002. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  6. ^ "North Valley rethink??". Lancashire Telegraph. 6 February 1997. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  7. ^ "Halfords change of style benefits Barnado's". Retail Bulletin. 18 February 2003. Archived from the original on 19 April 2016. Retrieved 9 April 2016.
  8. ^ "Announcement of Collaboration Agreement with Halfords Group plc". Autobacs Seven Co. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 5 June 2007.
  9. ^ "Manabu Orido announces Super GT Sabbatical after departing JLOC". Super GT World. 5 March 2018. Retrieved 16 March 2019.
  10. ^ "Announcement of Acquisition of Stocks of Halfords Group plc". Autobacs Seven Co. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 5 June 2007.
  11. ^ Thompson, James (6 June 2008). "Halfords looking to branch out into Central Europe as sales buck downward trend". London: Independent Online. Retrieved 13 June 2008.
  12. ^ "Halfords leaving Czech Rep and Poland after three years, focusing on domestic market". Autofox. 23 March 2010. Retrieved 25 August 2014. See also links on the bottom of that article; see also James Moore (24 March 2010). "Investment Column: Halfords rides away from central Europe". The Independent. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  13. ^ Halfords buys car servicing firm Nationwide Autocentres BBC News Online. 18 February 2010
  14. ^ "4 June 2014 Last updated at 18:05 Halfords takes over Boardman Bikes for undisclosed sum". BBC News. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  15. ^ "Acquisition of Boardman Bikes will shift gear at Halfords". independent.co.uk. Retrieved 20 June 2014.
  16. ^ Farrell, Sean (23 March 2015). "Halfords hires McDonald's UK boss". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 March 2015.
  17. ^ Wood, Zoe (24 May 2016). "Halfords buys Tredz and Wheelies for £18.4m". the Guardian. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
  18. ^ Torrance, Jack. "Why is Halfords boss Jill McDonald biking off to M&S?". Managementtoday.co.uk. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  19. ^ "Halfords nets Honeybee boss Graham Stapleton as new chief executive". News.sky.com. Retrieved 25 March 2018.
  20. ^ According to the Annual Report 2009, there were 466 stores including six in Central Europe, and twenty two in Ireland. In 2010, there were 462 shops left, all in the British islands (Halfords Annual Report 2010 Archived 10 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine). This number had grown to 466 in 2013, according to the Annual Report of that year.
  21. ^ BTCC action: Matt Neal Archived 11 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ Team Halfords field pair of Honda Civics BTCC, 13 March 2007
  23. ^ Halfords backs Cooke for Glory Cycling Weekly, 8 January 2008
  24. ^ Butler, Sarah. "Halfords to revive Cycle Republic chain". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 November 2014.
  25. ^ Butler, Sarah (6 November 2014). "Halfords to revive Cycle Republic chain". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  26. ^ "Catching up with Peter Kimberley, MD of Cycle Republic". Bikebiz. Archived from the original on 24 August 2017. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  27. ^ "Finance: Cycle Republic". Cycle Republic. Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  28. ^ Enfield, Laura. "Victoria Pendleton reveals why she is a "fair weather cyclist" at Cycle Republic opening in Canary Wharf". In your area. Retrieved 5 January 2018.
  29. ^ Howells, Kieran. "Cycle Republic to sponsor Morvelo Basso for 2018". BikeBiz. Archived from the original on 26 January 2018. Retrieved 26 January 2018.
  30. ^ "Cycle Republic back huge Velo Birmingham event". Greater Birmingham Chambers. Retrieved 15 March 2017.
  31. ^ Morley, Rebecca. "Cycle Republic adds Brompton to store lineup". BikeBiz. Retrieved 7 February 2019.

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