Halfords, the UK’s leading provider of motoring and cycling products and services, has revealed that its latest results have been boosted by better than expected sales in the final weeks of the financial year during the lockdown period.
The Redditch-based company now expects that adjusted profit before tax “will be at the upper end of our previously guided range of £50-55 million”.
As a provider of essential products and services to the UK public, Halfords was allowed to remained open during the lockdown period. It currently has 325 retail stores open on a dark-store basis (serving customers from the front of the store only).
It also has 346 garages open and 77 mobile vans operating.
Group sales for the four weeks to 1 May 2020 were 23 per cent below last year on a like-for-like basis, which the company says was better than anticipated. This reflected a strong performance in cycling, as the public embraced two wheels only to stay healthy. In motoring, essential categories such as batteries and battery care performed well, but overall weakness reflected a significant reduction in car journeys during the lockdown period.
Earlier this year, the company announced that it was planning to close Cycle Republic and the Boardman Performance Centre, following a strategic review of the Group’s cycling businesses. It has since completed a transaction with Somerset-based Pure Scooters Limited to transfer 11 stores and 85 employees. however, the company said that performance cycling remains an important category for Halfords and it will continue to serve the mainstream and enthusiast cycling market through its specialist online business, Tredz and the core Halfords Retail cycling business.
Graham Stapleton, Halfords CEO said:”I am immensely proud of all our colleagues for their continued hard work and dedication to help keep the country moving.
“There may be less journeys now but those that are undertaken are even more important. As the UK’s largest provider of motoring and cycling products and services, we take our responsibility to keep the country moving seriously. We remain focused on providing essential services during lockdown, supporting key workers, including serving over 21,000 NHS front line workers so far, as well as the wider population who need to travel. Cycling has provided commuters with an important alternative to public transport and consequently we have seen significant growth within our Cycle2Work programme, cementing our position as the market-leading business in this segment.
“Whilst trading since our last update at the end of March has been better than anticipated, driven by a strong performance in cycling, considerable uncertainty remains and as such we continue to take all necessary measures to preserve cash and protect our financial position. I am confident the actions we are taking now will put the business in a strong position when we emerge from the crisis and enable us to continue to deliver on our strategic transformation in the medium term”.