Halfords suffers fall in profits

 
Kasmira Jefford
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HALFORDS, the seller of car parts and leisure products, saw pre-tax profits fall by 20 per cent in the first half of the year as hard-up motorists cut back on the maintenance of their vehicles to save cash in tough times.

Profit at the group, which owns 466 Halfords stores and 246 Autocentres in the UK and Ireland, was down to £54.7m from £68.7m last year.

Chief executive David Wild said the “big unknown is what happens to oil prices” which together with rising insurance costs are impacting consumer spending.

He added that the rate of MoT failure has now gone up to 41 per cent as cash-strapped consumers put-off maintenance spending until the last minute. Five years ago it was 28 per cent.

Revenues at its car servicing business, Halfords Autocentres, acquired in 2009, were up nine per cent or 2.7 per cent on a like-for-like basis compared with a 1.9 per cent decline in revenues across its retail division.