Halfords to return furlough cash as Redditch HQ reports trading stronger than anticipated

Halfords Tredz

Redditch-based retailer Halfords says it will return the full £10.7 million of furlough income received, following stronger than expected trading, it has said.

Full year profit before tax is expected to be between £90 million-£100 million after the repayment of furlough support.

In its Q3 trading update on 14 January 2021, the UK’s leading provider of motoring and cycling products and services, highlighted a weaker like-for-like growth rate. This was due to regional lockdowns impacting motoring demand, as well as global container shortages and port disruption delaying stock arriving into the business.

The retailers has now reported that although it has continued to experience a volatile trading environment across the first seven weeks of Q4, overall trading has been stronger than anticipated across the business.

For the first seven weeks of Q4, from 2 January 2021 to 19 February 2021, Group like for like growth was up 6.2 per cent, with retail up 5.1 per cent and Autocentres up a substantial 13.3 per cent.

Despite journeys being around 40 per cent below pre-pandemic levels, its Autocentre business is growing market share, with strong demand for both the garage business and Halfords Mobile Expert vans.

In Retail, its motoring business, while being down 14 per cent on like for like sale, has again performed better than traffic levels would suggest, with sales of blades, bulbs, batteries and general maintenance products performing better.

Cycling has seen like for like growth rates improve as supply disruption has eased, although overall supply remains tightl. Over the period cycling has reported sales up a massive 43 per cent, and its performance cycling business, Tredz, continuing to see exceptional growth, up 60 per cent like for like in the period.