HALFORDS, the bicycle and car parts retailer, said underlying sales were flat in the fourth quarter of the year as the cold weather helped boost sales at its car maintenance business but froze demand for bikes.
The company, which trades from over 460 Halfords stores in the UK and Ireland as well as over 280 Autocentres, said sales at stores open over a year rose 0.4 per cent in the last quarter of the year to 29 March.
Total sales rose 1.7 per cent in the 11-week period and one per cent for the year overall.
“This was a robust performance demonstrating how the balance of our business can offset some variations in the weather,” chief executive Matt Davies said.
Halfords’ Autocentres, which provide repairs, fit tyres and service vehicles, reported a 0.8 per cent rise in like-for-like sales in the quarter while retail sales edged up 0.4 per cent.
Davies said that while freezing conditions had helped increase demand for its car maintenance products, the cold weather had delayed the start of the bike-selling season.
But its high-end ranges such as Pinarello bikes – the same brand used by Olympic cyclist Bradley Wiggins – performed resiliently and sales of online parts, accessories and clothing increased by 26.5 per cent.
The group said it expects profits for the year to remain in line with the expected range of £68m to £72m.
Davies, who took over as chief executive in October, will outline his plans for the business when the company publishes full-year results on 23 May.