Halfords Group plc (LSE: HFD) is a leading retailer of car parts, car enhancements and bicycles operating in the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Czech Republic and more recently in Poland. David Wild announced on 23 March 2010 that Halfords would be closing its stores in Poland and the Czech republic. A separate company runs Halfords stores in the Netherlands and Belgium, 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'.
The company was founded by Frederick Rushbrooke in Birmingham in 1892 as a wholesale ironmongery. In 1902 Rushbrooke moved to a store on Halford Street in Leicester, 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 later to become Prime Minister of Great Britain.
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.