Halfords has announced that its pre-tax profit in the first half of the year is now expected to be in excess of £55m, following continued “positive” momentum in its cycling and motoring business.
Its previous 20-week trading update on 8 September highlighted an “improving growth trend” throughout the period, reflecting “continued strength” in cycling and a return to growth in motoring products and services.
According to Halfords, this “positive momentum” has continued, despite the peak cycling and staycation season coming to an end. In light of this, group like-for-like growth in the five weeks to 25 September 2020 was 22%.
Cycling has continued to perform well, according to the group, with like-for-like sales up 46% in the five-week period, reflecting the “strength of our unique proposition and continual improvement in supply to meet unprecedented levels of demand”.
Motoring like-for-like sales improved to 7.5% in the same period, while its autocentres business “continued to grow strongly”, with like-for-like sales up by 18%.
Following the “substantial growth” seen in its motoring services business across both retail and autocentres, the group has now launched a national campaign to recruit hundreds of technicians.
Nonetheless, Halfords said that it remains cautious in its outlook for the second half of trading.
It said: “The potential impact of second waves of Covid-19 now seems more pronounced than just a few weeks ago, and the economic impact of an end to the furlough scheme and the outcome of Brexit negotiations remains very uncertain.
“We are well placed to address any headwinds we may face and capitalise on the tailwinds as they arise. Our balance sheet and liquidity position remain strong.”