Thursday 16 January 2020 9:04 am

Halfords hails Christmas bike sales as it sticks to profit target

Strong Christmas bike sales helped Halfords stick to full-year profit guidance of between £50m and £55m today as it unveiled figures for the festive period.

Group revenue rose 4.6 per cent in the 14 weeks to 3 January while like-for-like sales climbed 1.3 per cent as the repair shop reconfirmed its operating profit target.

Cycling sales jumped 5.9 per cent on a comparable basis, as Halfords staff built 86,000 bikes in the week before Christmas.

Meanwhile, autocentre revenue soared 31.2 per cent in Halfords’ third quarter and like-for-like autocentre sales grew 4.6 per cent.

Recent acquisitions McConechy’s and Tyres On the Drive performed in line with expectations as Halfords works on integrating them into the autocentre business.

The company’s share price rose four per cent to 151.4p.

“I am pleased with our overall performance in the third quarter, with total revenue growing nearly five per cent in the quarter,” chief executive Graham Stapleton said.

“Our results reflect the positive actions we have taken across the group to deliver on our strategy, particularly motoring services, which grew strongly.

“Within retail, cycling performed particularly well, as customers responded to our innovative product ranges and differentiated proposition.”

However, retail motoring sales sank 2.7 per cent on a like-for-like basis over the period and Halfords warned of a “challenging” market affected by low levels of consumer confidence.

Halfords took heart from a huge 32 per cent jump in B2B sales growth, which now accounts for 16 per cent of all sales. And the business posted a 27 per cent leap in online sales over the quarter.

“Our new web platform remains on track to launch in Q4, which will significantly improve the digital experience and, for the first time, allow customers to access an integrated services offer across stores, garages and mobile through one website,” Halfords said.

“Though pleased with our performance, market conditions remained subdued and we are not anticipating a near-term improvement,” Stapleton added.

“We will continue to focus on improving our customer proposition, building our services business and managing our costs and operations tightly. In the context of the current retail market I am pleased to be reporting a positive L4L performance and to reconfirm profit guidance for the full year.”

Main image credit: Wikimedia Commons