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Halfords Group plc ( ) is a leading retailer of car parts, car enhancements and bicycles operating in the United Kingdommarker, Irelandmarker, the Czech Republicmarker and more recently in Polandmarker. A separate company runs Halfords stores in the Netherlandsmarker and Belgiummarker, but it only has historical ties to the UK-based Halfords (it was formed by Halfords, then sold). Halfords is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 250 Index. Within the field of bicycle retail, the company also uses the brand 'Bikehut'.

History

The company was founded by Frederick Rushbrooke in Birminghammarker in 1892 as a wholesale ironmongery. In 1902 Rushbrooke moved to a store on Halford Street in Leicestermarker, from which street the name of the Company was derived, and started selling cycling goods.

It opened its 200th store in 1931 and purchased the Birmingham Bicycle Company in 1945. In 1968 it opened its 300th store.

The Company became a part of Burmah Oil in 1969, following a takeover battle between Burmah Oil and Smiths Industries. During this time, a non-executive director of Halfords was Denis Thatcher, husband of Margaret Thatcher who was [Prime Minister]] of Great Britain at this time.

The Company was acquired by Ward White Group in 1983 and subsequently acquired by the Boots Group in 1991. It was then taken over by CVC Capital Partners in 2002 and in 2004 it was floated on the London Stock Exchange. On 11 July, 2005 Halfords entered into a Collaboration Agreement with Autobacs Seven Co., 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. On 13 December, Autobacs acquired 5% (11,400,000 shares) of the company at approximately ¥7.5 billion.

In a joint venture with the UK government, Halfords helped create the cycle to work scheme, which is a way of obtaining a bike to commute to and from (or at) work, that is tax deductible. This is part of the government plans to lower carbon emissions. Along with the venture with the Government, Halfords has introduced a range of Electric bikes from 2009 to aid people in the quest to lower their carbon footprint.

Operations

The Company operated 455 stores as at 22 December 2008. These stores are in the UKmarker, Republic of Irelandmarker, and the Czech Republicmarker. The first store in Polandmarker opened at the end of 2008. This is in keeping with the Company's strategy that involves expanding into Eastern European countries where the average age of cars is acknowledged as being slightly older, and the people are more adept at car maintenance. In June 2009 Halfords launched a Republic of Ireland dedicated website Halfords.Ie which is aimed at serving the customers of ROI with the option to browse and reserve items online, and then collect and pay for them instore.

Halfords has its own range of bicycles with the brand name of "Apollo".

Sponsorship

Halfords used to sponsor the Team Dynamics BTCC racing team under the name of Team Halfords. The team won the BTCC overall Drivers Championship in 2005 and 2006 with driver Matt Neal.Halfords also sponsors motoring on the UK TV channel Dave.Halfords in 2008 started sponsoring a mixed professional bike team, Team Halfords Bikehut, headed by Nicole Cooke.

References

  1. Team Halfords field pair of Honda Civics
  2. BTCC action: Matt Neal


External links




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