Halfords Group has announced its preliminary results for the 2019 financial year.
In retail, sales were £977.2 million, up 0.8% on a like-for-like basis. Cycling sales increased by 2.6% like-for-like, which Halfords said reflected strong growth in its own brand and its exclusive range of electric bikes and parts, accessories and clothing.
Halfords said sales of electric bikes continued to perform well in the year, and e-bikes now account for 11% of total bike sales across the group and have grown 47.2% on a like-for-like basis. The retailer said it continues to ‘inspire its customers’ by further strengthening its cycling specialist credentials via agreements with Brompton and Scott (exclusive to Cycle Republic) to sell its products across the Halfords Group, as well as an exclusive deal with G-tech.
The retailer also said that whilst it remains ‘confident’ in the long-term growth prospects for the cycling market, it expects short-term underlying economic conditions to ‘continue to be challenging’. “Even though Q2 and Q4 this year saw a strong performance driven by the weather, cycling continues to be a discretionary, big-ticket category and is not immune to consumer uncertainty. Unsurprisingly, bike volumes overall have been subdued across the market in FY19,” it added.
Graham Stapleton, chief executive officer, said: “Halfords Group has delivered sales and Free Cash Flow growth in what remains a challenging UK consumer environment. While motoring continued to be impacted by extremely mild weather conditions, we are pleased to have seen continued and sustained growth in cycling, underpinned by improvement in our exclusive own brand ranges. Autocentres continued to perform well throughout the year, with strong sales growth, margin improvement year-on-year and good cost control. This focus led to a second year of profit growth within the business.
“Since launching our new strategy, we have seen encouraging early progress. As we strengthen our unique services proposition, customers are responding positively, and we are particularly pleased that nearly a quarter of all Halfords sales are now service related. Consumer confidence remains fragile; however, we remain confident that the strength of our customer offer, our people, our strategy and a clear focus on our medium-term financial targets leave us well-placed for long-term sustainable growth.”