Halfords produced a top-of-the-range rise in half-year profits today after benefiting from a surge in demand for cycling and camping goods.
The group posted profits of £60.9m (€68m) for the 26 weeks to October 2, an increase of 24% on a year earlier as this summer’s trend for Britons to holiday in the UK lifted sales of leisure equipment.
Today’s figure is near the top end of Halfords’ prediction last month that it would make profits of between £59m (€66m) and £61m (€68.4m) in the half year. This was higher than the £55m (€61.6m) anticipated by City analysts.
As well as better-than-expected leisure sales, chief executive David Wild highlighted a strong second quarter in car maintenance as the company’s “wefit” service makes a greater contribution to overall sales and margins.
He added: “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.”
Halfords currently trades from 469 stores in the UK and Ireland after opening seven new outlets in the half year, including one relocation.
It said it remained cautious about the economy and its impact on consumer spending, but forecast another increase in profits in the second half.