THE NEW BOSS OF HALFORDS has received an immediate boost as Bradley Wiggin’s Tour de France win and Britain’s Olympic success in the velodrome helped return the struggling retailer to growth.
Hours after unveiling Matt Davis, the former finance director and chief executive of Pets At Home, as its new chief executive, Halfords said in a trading update that like-for-like sales in its cycling department grew 14.7% in the second quarter, which contributed to a 4.6% increase in retail sales.
The result, which trumped analyst expectation of a 5% fall, will be welcomed by Davis, who takes up the role following a difficult period, which culminated in the departure of predecessor David Wild, who quit in July after the company issued a profit warning and suffered a 5.6% fall in first quarter sales as a result of poor weather.
Davis’ appointment should be welcomed by investors, given his experience of building profits at Pets at Home prior to its sale to private equity group Kohlberg Kravis Roberts in April 2011 for £955m.
Davis was chief executive of Pets At Home for eight years until April 2012, having originally joined as finance director in 2001. Prior to that he was a finance director at Caudwell Communications and before then worked at NatWest Markets and NM Rothschild as a corporate finance advisor. He is a non-executive director at Dunelm Group.
Dennis Millard, Halfords chairman, commented: “The board is delighted to have recruited such a high-calibre leader as Matt. He has many years of retail experience, impeccable service credentials and the energy and ability to drive Halfords forward.”