Halfords reports in-line results but bemoans weather

Retailer and car maintenance group Halfords revealed that it will deliver profits in line with expectations for the year to end-March, although the extended winter had dampened sales in the new period.

Retailer and car maintenance group Halfords revealed that it will deliver profits in line with expectations for the year to end-March, although the extended winter had dampened sales in the new period.

The car and bike specialist said the prolonged winter had resulted in a year-on-year change in the sales mix in the period that boosted its car maintenance operations, but had a "marked dampening effect" on outdoor-focused sales such as cycling.

On the down side, travel solutions sales were weak, car enhancement sales were flat and fleet sales remain under pressure at its autocentres arm, which opened 12 centres opened in the period.

More happily, car maintenance delivered a strong performance with parts sales up 26.3% and fitting penetration up 10.6% points to 39.4%, benefiting from the new 'wefit' strategy.

For the year just passed, to March 29th, management revealed that they anticipate profit before tax will "remain in line with prior assumptions within the range of £68-72m" and that the group's financial position is "sound".

Chief Executive Matt Davies said: "This was a robust performance demonstrating how the balance of our business can offset some variations in the weather.

"Car maintenance sales were strong as we helped motorists cope with the freezing conditions and this endorses our strategy of investment in our unique wefit offer. Cycling and travel Solutions were impacted in the period but we have a strong offer ready for the spring and summer periods.

"We are focused on significantly improving the service we offer customers and this emphasis will be central to our future investments. I look forward to outlining our plans to secure sustainable revenue growth through our three-pillared strategy at our preliminary results on May 23rd."

OH

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