// Halfords expects full-year profits for the financial year to come in at the top end of the expected range
// Results for financial year 2020 boosted by better than expected sales during lockdown
Halfords is anticipating full-year profits for the financial year to come in at the top end of the expected range as lockdown has seen customers “explore alternatives to public transport”.
The cycling and autocentre retailer said results for the financial year were boosted by better than expected sales during the lockdown.
It now expects profit before tax to be at the upper end of its guided range of £50 million to £55 million.
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Group sales for the four weeks to May 1 were 23 per cent below the same period on a like-for-like basis, to which Halfords said was “better than initially anticipated”.
Halfords said that due to the coronavirus pandemic, customers “explored alternatives to public transport and for ways to stay healthy”.
Meanwhile, the retaier’s motoring division showed “overall weakness reflected by a significant reduction in car journeys” due to the lockdown.
Halfords currently has £159 million worth of total liquidity available, including overdraft facilities from lending banks.
However, it said it will take actions wherever necessary to preserve cash as it prepares for the next phase of the lockdown.
“The health and safety of our colleagues and our customers remain our top priority. I am immensely proud of all our colleagues for their continued hard work and dedication to help keep the country moving,” Halfords chief executive Graham Stapleton said.
“There may be fewer journeys now but those that are undertaken are even more important.
“As the UK’s largest provider of motoring and cycling products and services, we take our responsibility to keep the country moving seriously.
“We remain focused on providing essential services during the lockdown, supporting key workers, including serving over 21,000 NHS frontline workers so far, as well as the wider population who need to travel.
“I am confident the actions we are taking now will put the business in a strong position when we emerge from the crisis and enable us to continue to deliver on our strategic transformation in the medium term.”
Last month, Halfords secured a new owner for 11 of its Cycle Republic stores as it sought to offload its performance cycling businesses.
The deal will see the transfer of 11 stores that were previously slated for closure to electric scooter retailer Pure Electric, saving 85 jobs.
Cycle Republic stores in cities including Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh and Manchester will remain open as Pure Electric stores as a result of the transfer, with the retailer’s remaining 11 stores that are not included in the deal to be shuttered.