National retailer Halfords has cited the ‘excellent performance’ of the leisure sector (including the bicycle sector) as a key factor in driving sales increase in its interim results.
Sales rose modestly by 1.7 per cent to £425.1m in the 26 weeks leading to October 2nd 2009, compared like-for-like. Operating profit rose 12.9 per cent to £62m (compared with £54.9m in 2008), while profit before tax climbed 24 per cent to £60.9m.
In the same period that seven new stores opened, Halfords also cited the performance of the record camping season and continued growth in the car maintenance sector and ‘wefit’ transactions as performance drivers.
Multi-channel sales increased by over 50 per cent to 5.2 per cent of sales. The statement also revealed the firm's plans for a new 320,000 sq ft distribution centre.
Halfords chief exec David Wild said: “We are very pleased with these results that clearly demonstrate the success of our four-point strategic growth plan. This strong first half profit, cash flow performance and our well-structured balance sheet, lay the foundation for the on-going development of our business.
“Our market-leading core product areas, like car maintenance, performed well in the second quarter increasing market share and our leisure categories, of cycling and camping products exceeded our expectations. These strong sales compensated for the economic headwinds experienced in our international markets and for the decline in the Satellite Navigation sector.
“Halfords is fast evolving into a true multi-channel retailer, with Halfords.com and our "wefit" services now making a significant contribution to overall sales and margins. Our approach of building on our unique market position with the addition of expert customer services is broadening our appeal to a wider consumer base, especially families. These opportunities provide the basis for long-term sustainable growth."