Halfords posts jump in profits

UK retailer Halfords, which operates 23 stores in Ireland, delivered a 27% rise in profits today after poor winter weather forced motorists to shell out on car maintenance accessories.

UK retailer Halfords, which operates 23 stores in Ireland, delivered a 27% rise in profits today after poor winter weather forced motorists to shell out on car maintenance accessories.

The group also reported continued strong sales and market share growth in cycling as it posted a surplus of £117.1m (€142m) for the year to April 2 – a figure slightly higher than City expectations.

Chief executive David Wild said it had been an excellent year for the company, with revenues up 4.6% to £831.6m (€1bn) and by 0.7% on a like-for-like basis.

He added: “Our performance through this period of recession emphasises the resilient quality and adaptability of the business.”

In February it moved into car servicing and repairs with the acquisition of Nationwide Autocentres for £73.2m (€88.7m), with early trading signs from the new addition encouraging.

Nationwide has 224 sites but Halfords has plans to open another 200 outlets, creating 1,000 jobs.

In car maintenance, which generates around 30% of the company’s revenues, like-for-like sales were up by 8% as Halfords increased its market share and benefited from the rise in demand caused by the wintry weather.

The group said its success in the cycling category, with like-for-like sales growth of 15%, reflected the success of its own brands such as Apollo and Carrera.

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