Halfords has reported a strong third quarter and said it was continuing to target a full-year underlying pre-tax profit of £80m to £90m.
In a trading update for the 13 weeks to December 31, 2021, issued today (Jan 13) via the London Stock Exchange, it said group sales had risen by 10.4 per cent like for like over the past two years.
The increase for its 2022 financial year had been underpinned by what it called ‘an outstanding Autocentres performance’ during the quarter’s MOT peak.
They recorded a 33.1 per cent like-for-like sales growth on the same period in its 2020 financial year. Thanks to more sites being acquired via takeovers, though, the total sales growth across Autocentres was actually 90.2 per cent.
Comparisons have been made on a two-year basis to give a better understanding of how it has performed, said the provider of motoring and cycling products and services.
But digging deeper into the figures reveals that although total sales in its retail division were up 5.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis, they actually fell by 1.8 per cent because of the impact of store closures.
Sales of motoring and cycling products were hit as a result of the closures – down 1.5 per cent and 2.1 per cent respectively.
However, comparing sales only at the remaining open stores shows that both divisions were up by 3.1 per cent and 9.2 per cent respectively.
- From teenage tyre fitter to £33m payout – how the boss of National Tyres will benefit from its sale to Halfords
In the motoring retail sector, Omicron led to a 15 per cent drop in customers during December, contributing to weaker demand and a corresponding drop in performance.
Chief executive Graham Stapleton said: ‘These results demonstrate the strength of our motoring services offer, and the outstanding performance from our Autocentres business confirms the rationale behind our recent acquisitions.
‘With the recent addition of National to the group, motoring will represent more than 70 per cent of our revenue, and we expect to carry out 7.5m motoring servicing jobs a year.
‘We are working hard to continually increase our capacity, capabilities, and geographic reach in this area, making it easier and more convenient for customers to have a broader range of vehicles serviced than ever before at over 1,400 fixed or mobile motoring services locations.’
Stapleton also praised staff, saying: ‘The Covid-19 pandemic has continued to present a number of headwinds and put significant pressure on our colleagues, who have navigated their way through a variety of challenges and issues.
‘It is their resilience, dedication, and expertise that have produced another good set of results, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them.’