Belfast Telegraph

Halfords profits edge higher as sales increase 1.5%

Profits at Halfords have nudged up as the retailer's turnaround continues under chief executive Jill McDonald.

The car parts to bicycles firm said full year pre-tax profit rose 0.5% to £81.5 million after sales at its retail and Autocentre arms saw growth.

Ms McDonald said: "This was a solid performance and we gained market share in both our motoring and cycling divisions.

"In cycling our sales improved in the second half of the year and cycle repair delivered good growth. The Moving Up A Gear strategy aimed at driving sustainable long-term growth is developing well."

Revenues grew 1.7% to £1 billion and group like-for-like sales increased 1.5% over the year.

Halfords also announced the launch of an exclusive bike range from double Olympic gold medallist Laura Trott. It is the latest initiative aimed at driving bike sales following a slump during its peak summer trading period last year.

Like-for-like sales in cycling over the year fell 0.9% as the firm flagged " weaker market conditions" in the category.

Last month, Halfords splashed out £18.4 million to acquire online company Tredz, along with Wheelies, the UK's largest provider of bicycle replacement for insurance companies.

Tony Shiret, analyst at Haitong, said: "Halfords is also clearly not seeing much strength in the cycle market just now. But underlying growth characteristics in the UK motor market remain encouraging.

"Much investment has already been made in improving customer service by up-skilling the workforce and this also continues. This is how this type of business, with potential for service and adjacent product-related sales increments, should develop. This said, theory and execution are not always the same."