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Halfords' first half profits pedal ahead

BIKE and car parts retailer Halfords laid out ambitious expansion plans yesterday as it announced strong first half results that saw pre-tax profits surge 24 per cent to &pound;60.9m.<br /><br />The company is planning to open 150 stores in central Europe following a successful trial with four outlets in the Czech Republic. It will also add 50 to 60 shops to its 455-strong UK estate, but said there was &ldquo;no rush&rdquo;.<br /><br />Halfords saw like-for-like sales rise 1.7 per cent over the six-month period. Total revenue was &pound;425.1m, up from &pound;409.6m a year earlier.<br /><br />Finance director Nick Wharton said the board was considering bolt-on acquisitions alongside its organic growth plans though he did not say in which areas.<br /><br />Shares in the company rose 3.2 per cent to 418p.