'Staycation' trend helps to drive 3.5% sales growth at car parts chain Halfords
Halfords, which has 14 stores in Northern Ireland, has notched up a hike in sales thanks to surging demand for roof boxes and camping gear as more Britons chose to 'staycation' in the UK.
The car parts to bicycles chain said like-for-like retail sales rose 3.5% in the 20 weeks to August 18, with motoring sales lifting 2.3%.
Halfords saw travel solutions sales jump 8.2% higher, driven by the rising popularity of holidaying in the UK in the face of poor exchange rates from the Brexit-hit pound.
It also reported strong demand for bikes, with sales up 5.2% and electric bikes and repair services seeing strong performances.
Outgoing chief executive Jill McDonald, who is leaving next month to head up Marks & Spencer's fashion and homewares arm, said: "A combination of good planning and execution meant that we optimised sales from the staycation summer, with strong growth in camping, roof boxes and cycle carriers."
But the group saw a 2% drop in like-for-like sales at its autocentres service, leaving overall group-wide same-store sales 2.7% higher in the 20-week period.
Shares in Halfords leaped nearly 5% higher after its trading update.
Nicholas Hyett, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said Ms McDonald's strategy had helped get the chain's "sales engine firing again". The latest update showed strong online sales, with growth of 11.2% and 85% of orders picked up in-store.