Halfords has announced that total revenue rose by 13.9% on a two-year basis in the quarter ended 31 December 2021, as like-for-like retail sales rose by 5.6%, with a particularly strong performance in October and November.
While sales dropped off in the latter part of the period in light of rising Omicron cases, the group still welcomed an “exceptional” performance largely driven by its autocentres, which saw like-for-like sales rise by 33.1%, driven by a strong Q3 MOT peak.
Total sales growth across autocentres was 90.2% overall, reportedly reflecting its acquired businesses, coupled with its strong LFL performance over the period.
Over the quarter, the group also continued to develop its digital business, with online sales up 71%, delivered through strong site traffic and improved conversion.
Looking ahead, Halfords said it will continue to target a full-year underlying profit before tax of between £80m to £90m.
It warned that the Omicron impact seen in December “shows that the challenges associated with Covid-19 are still present”, but that its latest guidance assumes that the impacts of Omicron will continue to diminish.
Graham Stapleton, CEO, said: “These results demonstrate the strength of our Motoring Services offer, and the outstanding performance from our Autocentres business confirms the rationale behind our recent acquisitions. With the recent addition of National to the group, motoring will represent more than 70% of our revenue, and we expect to carry out 7.5 million motoring servicing jobs a year.
“We are working hard to continually increase our capacity, capabilities, and geographic reach in this area, making it easier and more convenient for customers to have a broader range of vehicles serviced than ever before at over 1,400 fixed or mobile Motoring Services locations.”
He added: “The Covid-19 pandemic has continued to present a number of headwinds and put significant pressure on our colleagues, who have navigated their way through a variety of challenges and issues. It is their resilience, dedication, and expertise that have produced another good set of results, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them.”