Car repair and bicycle retailer Halfords has seen group trading drop 0.1 per cent in the first half, according to results published today.
Sales in most of their categories declined in the last 13 weeks of the period ending September 30th 2011, with its retail business posting a decline in like-for-like (LFL) revenues of 2.8 per cent in the second quarter compared to a 1.9 per cent fall over the full 26-week half.
Halfords’ car maintenance and car enhancement categories saw LFL sales slip 3.1 per cent and 9.8 per cent respectively over H1 but its leisure sector and new autocentres business managed to improve trading year-on-year.
David Wild, CEO of Halfords, said: “The tough consumer environment which particularly affects motorists is continuing to influence spending patterns.
“We are taking constructive steps to protect our sales and profitability by delivering real value and service to our customers.
“There are clear signs that this strategy has had a positive impact in our stores through the summer and we are particularly pleased with the growth in cycles and fitting services.”
Despite the downturn in overall revenues over recent months, sales in cycling have remained strong in the second quarter, jumping 5.7 per cent LFL, and online sales penetration rose 8.4 per cent during the period.
The firm’s guidance on a 100 base points drop in gross margin for the full year has remained unchanged and its profit before tax is expected to range between £53 million and £55 million.
Wild continued: “Our autocentres have shown impressive revenue growth, counter to the trend in the sector. This demonstrates how the Halfords brand is gaining traction in aftercare and justifies the long-term investments we are making.
“We are carefully managing all aspects of our business to deliver optimal performance for customers and investors alike in these harsh times.”