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Halfords profits soar in FY21 amid cycling boom

While cycling grew by 54.1%, motoring sales were down by 12.1% as it suffered from fewer car journeys and low consumer confidence

Halfords has welcomed a “strong” year of trading, as pre-tax profit soared by 72.3% to £96.3m in its preliminary results for the year ended 2 April 2021. 

In the same period, revenue rose by 13.1% to £1.3bn, while total revenue across its retail business rose by 9.4%. Retail LFL sales grew by 14.6%, with a 54.1% increase in cycling sales as “strong demand” for cycling products continued. 

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The group also witnessed an e-scooter boom in the period, as e-mobility sales rocketed 94%. By the end of FY22, the group said more than 2,000 of our store and garage colleagues will be trained to service electric vehicles, bikes and scooters.

Motoring sales were down by 12.1% on a like-for-like basis, however, as it suffered from fewer car journeys and low consumer confidence. Nonetheless, it performed well in product categories related to staycation or car maintenance. Touring was up 1.7%, whilst Car Cleaning ( 7.4%), Body Repair ( 5.4%) and Workshop ( 6.4%) all grew strongly, for example.

Its autocentre business also saw like-for-like revenue up by 9.7% and total revenue up 31.6%, as its market share grew “significantly” despite the fact traffic was 25% below pre-pandemic levels. 

Meanwhile, Halfords also welcomed “strong” growth across its Halfords Mobile Expert vans business, growing revenue by 200% and finishing the year with 143 vans, 14 hubs and over 250 technicians, with its established hubs now profitable.

The group has seen the positive momentum of FY21 carry forward into the first nine weeks of FY22, with demand for motoring services remaining strong, cycling demand remaining elevated, and staycation products popular in retail motoring.

Looking ahead, the group said it is “confident” in the long-term growth prospects of the motoring and cycling markets, as well as its ability to compete strongly in both, and foresees “significant” growth opportunity in its services and B2B businesses.

Graham Stapleton, CEO, said: “We are delighted to have delivered a year of very strong financial and operational progress, especially in light of the extraordinary challenges presented by the pandemic. As ever, I would like to thank our outstanding colleagues across the business for their hard work, professionalism, and dedication.

“It was a year in which Halfords’ transformation into a service-led business was rapidly accelerated, and we were particularly pleased to achieve a record revenue performance in the strategically important area of Motoring services.” 

He added: “We have continued to increase our scale and capacity in this area and customers can now receive our services at almost 800 fixed locations, or at home from one of our 143 mobile expert vans.

“Demand for our services remains strong in the new financial year, and our touring categories are currently performing particularly well given the trend towards staycations this summer. In the longer-term, we remain confident in the future prospects for the UK’s motoring and cycling markets and our ability to compete strongly in both.”

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