An increase in the popularity of cycling and more people returning to driving their cars has boosted Redditch-based motoring and cycling retailer, Halfords Group’s first half profits of 2020. The company says it now expects them to be in excess of £55 million
Its 20-week trading update on 8 September 2020 highlighted an improving growth trend throughout the period, reflecting continued strength in cycling and a return to growth in motoring products and services.
Despite the peak cycling and staycation season coming to an end, this positive momentum has continued, such that Group like-for-like growth in the five weeks to 25 September 2020 was 22 per cent.
Cycling has continued to perform well, up +46% LFL in the five-week period, reflecting the strength of our unique proposition and continual improvement in supply to meet unprecedented levels of demand.
Motoring in Halford’s retail business improved by 7.5 per cent like for like LFL in the five-week period.
Its autocentres business continued to grow strongly, up 18 per cent like for like (+64% including acquisitions). This included exceptional demand for its growing Mobile Expert business, driven by customers seeking greater convenience and safety from it fleet of vans.
And such has been the substantial growth in its motoring services business across both retail and autocentres, the company has launched a national campaign to recruit hundreds of skilled technicians.
However Halfords remains cautious in its outlook for H2. The potential impact of second waves of COVID-19 now seems more pronounced than just a few weeks ago, and the economic impact of an end to the furlough scheme and the outcome of Brexit negotiations remains very uncertain.
The company said “We are well placed to address any headwinds we may face and capitalise on the tailwinds as they arise. Our balance sheet and liquidity position remain strong.”