Poor weather in April and a nervous High Street ahead of the General Election and emergency Budget added up to a sluggish start to Q1, according to Halfords' interim management statement for the period April 3rd to July 26th 2010.
The Q1 results follow Halfords yearly financial statment, where bike sales grew 15 per cent.
Group revenue increased 9.6 per cent year-on-year due largely to the acquisition of Nationwide Autocentres in February, according to Halfords. Like-for-like sales after adjusting for the impact of Easter, for Halfords and Autocentres were -2.1 per cent and flat respectively. For the Group, this added up to a like-for-like revenue decline of -1.9 per cent.
Notably the firm held off the start of its summer leisure promotional campaign to mid-July to avoid clashing with the World Cup in June.
In the period Halford’s core categories – cycling and car maintenance – saw sales growth, each delivering low single digit like-for-like growth. Halfords revealed that it had faced supply challenges with delivery disruption from South East Asia.
Once again multi-channel proved a key performer for the firm, with online total revenue up 70 per cent year-on-year.
"The resilience of the Halfords business model is confirmed by further like-for-like growth in our core categories despite the consumer headwinds experienced across the retail sector,” commented David Wild, Halfords CEO.
“Our focus remains on managing the controllable elements of the business. Actions taken to manage gross margins, reduce costs and increase efficiency, are delivering the benefits we expected. The integration of Nationwide is continuing well and I remain pleased with early performance and progress.
“We are cautious about the macro economic environment but, through the execution of our proven strategy, we remain on track to deliver full year earnings growth in line with previous guidance."