Halfords CEO steps down as sales slump
Halfords has confirmed that its chief executive David Wild has stepped down following a fall in first quarter sales.
The bike and car parts retailer said that like-for-like sales dropped 5.6% in the 13 weeks to 29 June. Total revenue for the group was down 5.2% year-on-year despite a good performance from the retailer’s recently acquired Autocentres business which saw a 9.2% rise in like-for-like sales.
Halfords said it expects like-for-like sales to be negative, or at best flat, for the rest of the financial year. In addition, it indicated that profits are likely to be in the range of £62 million to £70 million compared to market expectations of £75 million.
The group said sales of cycles had suffered due to the wet weather with revenues down by 9.6% in the period. Although its car maintenance business saw like-for-like sales increase by 1% on a year earlier, like-for-like sales in its car enhancement and leisure divisions both fell by 10.5%.
Halfords had a weak start to the quarter with like-for-like sales down 12.4% in the first 8 weeks of the period, but trading improved in the five weeks to 29 June when like-for-like sales rose 0.9%. Online revenues in the quarter were up 13% from a year earlier as a new fulfilment proposition enhanced the retailer’s multi-channel offer .
In separate statement Halfords said that non-executive chairman Dennis Millard would take up the role of interim executive chairman until a replacement for Wild could be found.
Commenting on the results, Millard said: "The consumer environment remains difficult and the unseasonal weather conditions this quarter had a direct impact on sales of cycles and outdoor leisure products. In this challenging economic environment the management team will be focused on maximising our trading performance and cash generation, prudent cost management and delivering the longer term strategy outlined to shareholders in May 2012."
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