Halfords has reported a “solid” performance in its third quarter of trading, with total group revenue up 4.6%.
In the 14 weeks ended 3 January 2020, like-for-like revenue was also up 1.3%. Retail cycling delivered “strong sales growth” in particular, with like-for-like sales increasing 5.9% in the period.
Halfords said this was due to an optimisation of cycling space in its retail stores, as well as a “more innovative and differentiated range” of bicycles on offer.
Like-for-like retail motoring sales were down 2.7% amid a “challenging market” and low consumer confidence, yet autocentres sales growth accelerated, with like-for-like sales up 4.6%.
This growth was due to a mix of “organic and acquired growth”, after the recent acquisitions of McConechy’s and Tyres On The Drive.
Group service-related revenue also grew 16% in the period, now accounting for 27% of total group sales. Online sales grew 27% with around 80% of Halfords.com orders collected in store.
The group said that the “solid sales performance”, alongside tight cost control and improved operational efficiencies, meant it will reconfirm its full year profit guidance to be in line with expectations.
CEO Graham Stapleton said: “I am pleased with our overall performance in Q3, with total revenue growing nearly 5% in the quarter. 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. In addition, our ability to provide customers with a unique, free, build and storage offer was met with strong demand, as we built 86,000 bikes in the week before Christmas.”
He added: “As National Garage Chain of the Year in 2019, autocentres has continued to demonstrate good sales growth, organically and through acquisition, and remains well on track to deliver a 3rd year of profit growth.
“Though pleased with our performance, market conditions remained subdued and we are not anticipating a near-term improvement. We will continue to focus on improving our customer proposition, building our services business and managing our costs and operations tightly.”