Halfords has updated the market on its trading performance for the 14-week period to 3rd January 2020.
Group revenue was up 4.6% and 1.3% like-for-like in the period on the back of a strong cycling performance and continued growth in autocentres and B2B. Retail cycling sales were up 5.9% like-for-like in the period, with growth broadly based across the bike categories.
Halfords says its work to optimise the cycling space in its retail stores together with a more innovative and differentiated range has created a “better shopping experience” for its customers during the peak holiday period. This, in turn, has delivered strong sales growth as well as better margins and reduced working capital levels.
Group online sales grew 27% with around 80% of Halfords.com orders collected in store. Its new web platform remains on track to launch in Q4, which will allow customers to access an integrated services offer across stores, garages and mobile through one website.
Graham Stapleton, chief executive officer, 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. Approximately 85% of our bike range is unique to Halfords, including our successful partnership with Disney and the development of an innovative range with Trunki, both of which helped to sell a record number of kids bikes in the period.
“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.
“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. In the context of the current retail market, I am pleased to be reporting a positive L4L performance and to reconfirm profit guidance for the full year.”