Halfords customers cut back on accessories

City A.M. Reporter
Halfords said it expected to post 2012 pre-tax profit broadly in line with revised forecasts but well down on previous years as consumers cut back on non-essential services.

It said it also expected the consumer environment to remain challenging in 2013, especially for the motorist.

In the last 13 weeks, stores in Britain and Ireland open more than a year posted revenue down 2.3 per cent, as customers cut back on car accessories, audio devices and car cleaning products, but spent on bicycles and essential maintenance.

The group's online service performed poorly, with weak sales of Sat Nav devices and child safety products. Its shares were down four per cent.

Retailers have endured a tough few months and do not expect 2012 to be much better as shoppers cut back on spending due to muted wages growth and government austerity measures.

Halfords in January reported a drop in sales in the run-up to Christmas, as mild weather made cost-conscious Britons even less inclined to spend money on maintaining their vehicles, and warned that profitability could be eroded more than previously thought.