Halfords cuts profit guidance

City A.M. Reporter
Halfords reduced its profit guidance for the second time in three months as underlying sales continued to fall in tough markets.

The bicycles and car parts firm also announced a share buyback programme of up to £75m.

Halfords forecast a year to April 1 pretax profit of between £124m and £127m, with group sales of £869m and gross margins broadly flat.

In January Halfords had guided that year profit would be about £127m after sales in the run-up to Christmas failed to meet expectations.

Sales at Halfords stores open over a year fell 6.8 per cent in the 13 weeks to 1 April, its fiscal fourth quarter.

That compares with a third quarter fall of 6.6 per cent.

Like-for-like sales at the firm's Autocentres car servicing business were down 1.4 per cent, having been up 1.6 per cent in the earlier period.

It also flagged a four per cent rise in costs and said delivery of initial profit objectives for Autocentres will be delayed.