Sales jump at Halfords on bike lift

THE boom in commuter cycling and stay-at-home holidaymakers yesterday boosted Halfords as it reported sales growth for the successive quarter.<br /><br />The bike, camping products and car maintenance retailer yesterday reported sales rose by 3.8 per cent in the 13 weeks to last Friday. And like-for-like sales made a 2.2 per cent jump, up from a rise of 1.3 per cent in the first quarter.<br /><br />Chief executive David Wild said: &ldquo;While we remain cautious about the macro-economic environment in the balance of the year, we have a solid foundation from which we are very well positioned to deliver further profit growth in the second half and sustainable increases in earnings over the longer-term.&rdquo;<br /><br />Halfords, which currently sells one in three bikes in the UK, said that it was confident it would be able to deliver half-year pre-tax profits of between &pound;59m and &pound;61m as more consumers bought bikes and tents.<br /><br />Charles Stanley analyst Sam Hart said: &ldquo;Halfords has been amongst the most resilient retailers in the current consumer downturn and we expect it to remain so. It has market leading positions in each category, exposure to a number of structural growth markets and a sustainable balance sheet.&rdquo;<br /><br />The group&rsquo;s shares lifted yesterday by seven per cent to 390p.