Total Group Revenue rose slightly by 0.4 per cent for Halfords in its half year results, but profit (before tax) fell a significant 23.4 per cent, compared like-for-like.
The fall came from the retail arm of Halfords’ business (down 23.6 per cent) in the 26 week period leading up to September 28th (the first half of Halford’s financial year 2013). By contrast, the Autocentres portion of the company’s business saw a ten per cent rise in operating profit.
The news comes weeks after Halfords had reported a strong cycle performance for Q2 (up 14.7 per cent), counterbalancing a poor Q1 period (down 9.6 per cent) – affected by the sodden start to summer. In the half year cycling like-for-like sales were up 1.9 per cent.
Halfords said: "After a disappointing start, it was a particularly strong summer for cycling sales. The enthusiasm surrounding British successes in the Tour de France and at the Olympics & Paralympics helped fuel a stronger demand for cycles, cycle products and cycle accessories and we capitalised on this with our agile trading stance."
Chairman Dennis Millard added: "Our Retail performance improved markedly in the second quarter after a difficult first quarter and, with a proactive trading stance, we took full advantage of the opportunities provided by the ‘summer of sport’. We continue to be encouraged by the performance and long-term potential of Autocentres. We also made good progress on channel and category initiatives; central to this is the priority of building a company-wide customer service ethic as well as investing in training and support for colleagues.
"Our second-half Retail planning assumptions remain unchanged and cautious given the prevailing pressures on the consumer as we approach the important winter and Christmas trading periods. We continue to plan for a full-year Group Profit before tax and non-recurring items of between £66m and £70m. We have a strong platform for sustainable growth; the management team retains its focus on active trading, cash generation, prudent cost management and the delivery of strategic objectives."