Profits up at Halfords

Cycling sales growth drives retail giant success
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Over the last 12 months Halfords recorded a profit of £92.4 million before tax, up 2.4 per cent, according to its preliminary set of financial results up to April 3rd 2009.

Operating profit also rose, up 0.9 per cent to £101.9 million. However revenue declined 0.3 per cent to £794.7 million, with like-for-like sales dropping by 3.3 per cent.

As part of its statement, Halfords included details of its achievements over the past 52 weeks including the opening of 21 new stores and the refurbishment of 26.

According to the retailer, the continuing success of the exclusive Boardman bicycle range will help support the “integration of premium brands into the superstore format” – a move it earlier revealed would follow the rebranding of Cycle Republic and Bikehut.

Halfords also took the opportunity of the results to shed more light on its central European ambitions, with two new stores opened in the Czech Republic and the firm’s first new store in Poland in Wroclaw.

“These results demonstrate Halfords’ many strengths,” said Halfords chief executive David Wild. “At a time when much of the High Street is impacted by the recession, we have delivered an 8.5 per cent increase in underlying earnings per share from solid growth in both market share and margins, driven by our commitment to an unrivalled combination of value and service to our customers.

“We continue to strengthen our offer across all categories and see significant opportunities for future growth within the UK business."

Despite the results, the chief exec sounded a note of caution over the impact of the recession: “We naturally remain cautious given the continued fragility of the economy and consumer confidence. There are however, clear indications that Halfords is well positioned to deliver further earnings growth in the year ahead. The proposed final dividend, is consistent with our progressive policy and reflects the Board’s confidence in the Group’s near and long term prospects.

“I would like to thank all Halfords’ colleagues for their continued efforts in this challenging environment.”

The firm also cited its reserve and collect service as a driving of ongoing success.

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