The outgoing chief executive of Halfords has said the growing popularity of “staycations” in the UK have helped the cycling retailer record an increase in first-quarter sales.
In the 20 week period to August 1, the company – which is also a motor specialist – recorded a 4.8 per cent uptick in total sales. This equated to a rise of 2.7 per cent on a like-for-like basis.
In Halfords’ retail arm, total sales grew 6.2 per cent and like-for-likes edged up by 3.5 per cent, which has been attributed to a sales surge in travel solutions and cycling ranges.
Meanwhile, Halfords’ online revenue rose 11.2 -per cent in the first quarter, with more than 85 per cent of online orders are now collected in-store.
However, the company’s autocentres experienced a 1.4% dip in total sales, but its services arm jumped by 18.3 per cent.
“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,” said chief executive Jill McDonald, who is departing Halfords next month to head up Marks & Spencer’s fashion and home division.
“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.”
Halford has also opened 11 new-format stores and accelerated plans to roll these stores out.
The company believes full-year profits will be in line with current market expectations, and added that mitigation plans have been implemented to ride the currency headwinds – caused by the post-Brexit vote depreciation of the pound – which will cost around £25 million in its current full-year.
“We continue to anticipate that we will fully recover the FX impact over time,” Halfords said.
A search for a new chief executive to replace McDonald is still under way.