Halfords has announced its interim results for the 26 weeks to 27th September 2019.
Group like-for-like sales declined by 2.4% in a “tough market”, the retailer said, but sales returned to growth in the last six weeks of the period. In retail, cycling sales grew and in motoring, its core categories gained market share, however, sales of big-ticket discretionary products were softer.
The like-for-like growth in cycling sales was driven by performance ahead of expectations in the last six weeks as well as continued strong growth in e-bikes and kids bikes, which offset weaker sales of big-ticket discretionary mainstream cycling products.
Graham Stapleton, chief executive officer, said: “In a period where retail sales were impacted by weakened consumer confidence, we are pleased to have successfully increased gross margin, kept a tight control over costs, and seen growth from our strategic investment.
“Twelve months on from the launch of our strategy to inspire and support a lifetime of motoring and cycling, we have made encouraging early progress. Our autocentres business delivered strong growth in the half, while new initiatives helped to drive top-line momentum in group services, online and B2B.
“We are clear that our service-led strategy is the right one for Halfords. Our unique position, growing services business and positive macro-customer trends, gives us confidence that this is the right time to accelerate investment, leveraging our trusted household brand to become a clear market leader in motoring services.
“Over the medium-term, we expect service-related sales to double as a percentage of group sales and autocentres to represent a materially larger proportion of Halfords’ profits. As a result, motoring will inevitably grow in focus for the group. We are confident that this strategy will drive long-term sustainable growth.”