Halfords profits to be in line with expectations despite weather
Halfords, the car parts and cycle retailer, expects its profits to be in line with expectations for the year to end March despite the prolonged winter weather impacting sales in some of its categories.
The retailer said it anticipates group pre-tax profit for the year will "remain in line with prior assumptions" within the range of £68-72 million.
In the 11 weeks to 29 March, group total sales rose by 1.7% as retail sales edged up 0.5% and sales at the autocentres business climbed 7.8%.
On a like-for-like basis, group sales were up 0.4% in the period. Like-for-like retail sales increased by 0.3%, boosted by a 10.4% rise in car maintenance sales. Car enhancement sales fell by 4% as growth in audio and flat Sat Nav sales were not enough to offset a decline in car cleaning sales.
Cycle sales fell by 8.8% on a like-for-like basis as the new cycling season was delayed due to the extended winter weather. However, sales of premium cycle sales were resilient while online parts, accessory and clothing sales increased by 26.5% ahead of a full-scale online launch this year.
Sales at autocentres rose by 0.8% on a like-for-like basis with 12 centres opening in the period. Like-for-like sales at the retailer’s travel solutions arm fell 5.5% despite a reduced demand for outdoor products being partly mitigated by sales of snow chains and shovels.
Online retail sales climbed 13.4% boosted by a 24.7% increase in Sat Nav revenues.
Matt Davies, chief executive, said: "This was a robust performance demonstrating how the balance of our business can offset some variations in the weather. Car Maintenance sales were strong as we helped motorists cope with the freezing conditions and this endorses our strategy of investment in our unique wefit offer. Cycling and Travel Solutions were impacted in the period but we have a strong offer ready for the spring and summer periods.
"We are focused on significantly improving the service we offer customers and this emphasis will be central to our future investments. I look forward to outlining our plans to secure sustainable revenue growth through our three-pillared strategy at our preliminary results on 23 May."
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