Halfords has issued a trading update for the 52 weeks to 28 March 2008.
Sales have increased by 7.2 percent over the equivalent period last year and like-for-like sales increased by 4.2 percent. Sales growth was achieved in all categories, with the strongest performances in car maintenance and cycling.
A company statement said:
"Through the combination of good growth in sales and close scrutiny of costs the company is expecting to declare a full year profit before tax in line with market expectations and reflecting the ongoing share buyback programme1 anticipates it will announce high single digit growth in earnings per share."
In the nine week period since the February interim management statement sales have increased by 7.6 percent over the equivalent period last year and like-for-like sales increased by 4.6 percent. This includes the Easter trading period in weeks 51 and 52, which are non comparable because of the early date for Easter this year.
"An early Easter does not have the same impact on performance as one falling in a more traditional early/mid April," said Halfords, referring to the fact a warm Easter holiday weekend can massively impact on sales of bicycles, whilst a cold Easter can massively dent sales.
In light of this, halfords said the seven weeks to 14th March - excluding Easter - therefore provide a "more appropriate indicator of current trading."
In this period Halfords reported sales growth of 6.2 percent, representing a like-for-like increase of 3.2 percent.
This was "in line with the underlying sales performance reported at the last company update; and provides further evidence of the resilient nature of the company’s trading."