Halfords says it continues to focus on a developing a digital-first business, as online sales rose by 71% in the third quarter of its financial year.
Ecommerce was particularly strong at its Tredz performance cycling business, where sales grew by 47% during the period.
Halfords, ranked Top100 in RXUK Top500 research, today reported total sales up by 2.7% in the 13 weeks to December 31 2021, compared to the same time last year and by 13.9% on the same period two years ago. But like-for-like revenue was 2.2% ahead of last year, and 10.4% ahead of the previous year. The rise was mostly down to autocentre sales that were 48% ahead of last year, and 90% up on two years ago. Motoring will soon represent more than 70% of Halfords Group sales, following recent acquisitions.
Total retail sales were lower compared to both last year (-8.5%) and to two years ago (-1.8%), while like-for-like sales were behind last year (-5.3%) but ahead of two years ago (+5.6%). The company says that strong sales in the first half of the quarter softened before Christmas as customer behaviour changed following the emergence of the Omicron Covid-19 variant.
The retail and motoring group has closed stores within the last year as it looks to develop a “more productive and profitable estate” – and that meant like-for-like retail sales figures – which strip out the effect of store openings and closures – grew ahead of total sales.
Halfords chief executive Graham Stapleton says: “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% of our revenue, and we expect to carry out 7.5 million motoring servicing jobs a year.”
The company is targeting underlying full year pre-tax profits of between £80m and £90m.