Profits slump at Halfords despite summer of sport
Cycle and car parts retailer Halfords has reported a 22.5% fall in its first half profits after a strong summer of cycling sales failed to offset a disappointing start to the year when poor weather impacted sales.
In the 26 weeks to 28 September profit before tax and after exceptional items was £42.4 million as sales in the group’s retail division fell 1.9% to £393 million. First half total revenue edged up 0.4% to £455.6 million.
Halfords said it had experienced two contrasting quarters in the half year as sales were adversely affected by poor weather in the first quarter and improved in the second quarter as the retailer capitalised on the “summer of sport”.
The group enjoyed a surge in cycling sales following the UK’s success in the Tour de France and Olympics. Like-for-like sales of cycling products were up 14.7% in the second quarter, levelling out to 1.9% for the half year.
Halfords said: "After a disappointing start, it was a particularly strong summer for cycling sales. The enthusiasm surrounding British successes in the Tour de France and at the Olympics and Paralympics helped fuel a stronger demand for cycles, cycle products and cycle accessories and we capitalised on this."
At Halford’s Autocentres division sales rose by 17.2% to £62.6 million.
The group remains cautious in its outlook for the full year. Chairman Dennis Millard said: "Our second-half Retail planning assumptions remain unchanged and cautious given the prevailing pressures on the consumer as we approach the important winter and Christmas trading periods.
"We continue to plan for a full-year group profit before tax and non-recurring items of between £66 million and £70 million."
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