This car-parts and bikes retailer has been bought four times in its lifetime. It was founded in 1892 as a Birmingham hardware merchant, and began selling cycles in 1902 from a shop in Leicester’s Halford Street. In its long history, it has passed through the hands of firms as diverse as Burmah Oil and Boots, which sold its service centres to the Automobile Association in 2001 and the rest of the company to CVC Capital Partners last year for £410m. Halfords’ sales rose to £529m in 2002, when it employed 9,795 staff.
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