James Moore: No place to hide so the wheels came off for Wild

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The Independent Online

Outlook So David Wild is on his bike because he didn't sell enough of them to other people. Yesterday trading statement showed Halfords' troubles are two wheeled (the bit that deals with four is doing fine).

The weather, the company whined. But there's more to Halfords' trading troubles than a damp summer. The business has been showing signs of stress for a while now, and excuses won't do.

Mr Wild has given his investors quite a wild ride as chief executive and it's mostly been in the wrong direction. He's come to the end of the road. His problem really is that Halfords isn't a big enough business for someone other than the boss to take the blame when things go wrong. It's not like an M&S, where chief executive Marc Bolland was able to blame subordinates for shoddy shops and disappointing sales.

Nor is it like the banks, where bosses usually argue they couldn't have known about problems regulators seem to be able to turn up by the week and where it takes no less than the Governor of the Bank of England to prise them from their limpet-like hold on power.

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