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Halfords reports rising online sales, and benefits from collect-in-store and staycation trends

Halfords today reported rising online revenues as more shoppers order online to collect in store, and said it had made the most of a “staycation summer”.

The Halfords Group said online sales rose by 11.2% in the first 20 weeks of its financial year, compared to the same time last year. Some 85% of orders were collected from a shop. It said it had seen “continued improvements” in its collection and use of customer data, with more than 50% of retail sales now matched to customer information.

The automotive and cycling multichannel trader, which also operates a chain of garages, is a Leading retailer in IRUK Top500 research.

Overall, total group revenue was 4.8% ahead of last time, or by 2.7% when measured on a like-for-like basis, which strips out the effect of store openings and closures. Retail sales were up by 6.2% in total, or 3.5% like-for-like, while auto centres revenue was down by 1.4%. Retail services, where Halfords staff fit items to cars or service bikes, showed strong growth, with income from service-related retail up by 18.3%.

Halfords said it had benefited from a trend towards staycations, as it fitted items such as bike carriers to cars. It now has 17 Cycle Republic stores and is updating the format of Halfords stores. But it also said that the decline in value of sterling, which may have prompted those staycations, represented a cost of £25m, of which £15m would relate to the first half of its financial year. “Our FX mitigation plans have been implemented and are on track; we continue to anticipate that we will fully recover the FX impact over time.”

Chief executive Jill McDonald said: “I am pleased with the trading performance over the first 20 weeks of the year in both motoring and cycling. A combination of good planning and execution meant that we optimised sales from the staycation summer, with strong growth in camping, roof boxes and cycle carriers. This complemented our service-related retail sales, which grew significantly faster than our total sales, as we continue to demonstrate our relevance to the growing ‘do-it-for-me’ customer. Our foreign exchange mitigation plans are working in line with expectations and we are well prepared for the peak trading period through winter.”

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