Halfords eyes acquisitions after sales rise

HALFORDS expects to beat full-year profit forecasts after a surge in by demand for car parts during recent bad weather and its acquisition of Nationwide Autocentres.

The company said its pre-tax profit for the year ending in March would be around £116m – above analysts forecasts of £112.7m.

Sales at shops in the UK and Ireland were up 0.8 percent in the 11 weeks to 19 March, with a 13 per cent rise in sales of car maintenance products, mainly caused by the impact of the prolonged winter on vehicles.

Halfords – which specializes in car parts and bicycles – said it had “sufficient headroom” in its finances to make another acquisition this year if the right opportunity arose.

Dubbing the company’s performance as “terrific” chief executive officer David Wild said the

Nationwide Autocentres car servicing business would be re-branded as Halfords and its current 224 outlets doubled in the coming years.

He added: “Our car maintenance category has performed particularly well.

The acquisition of Nationwide Autocentres, completed during the quarter, logically extends our successful service proposition and provides a further opportunity for future growth."

However, the company’s seven stores Poland and the Czech Republic have been loss making and will close.

Sales of SatNav devises have also tailed off with a 25 per cent slump.