// Halfords underlying profits rose by 116% to £56 million in the 26 weeks to October 2
// Retail like-for-likes rose 8.1% to £524 million
Halfords has witnessed a surge in interim profits thanks to ongoing demand for its bikes as people avoided public transport during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The cycling and motor accessories specialist said that underlying profits rose by a colossal 116 per cent to £56 million in the 26 weeks to October 2, when group sales climbed 6.7 per cent like-for-like to £639 million.
Retail like-for-likes rose 8.1 per cent to £524 million, while cycling revenues rose 54 per cent like-for-like during the period.
Halfords was designated an essential retailer so it is still trading during the current lockdown.
In the first five weeks of the second half to November 5, sales had ”continued to be relatively strong, with good growth and increased market share in cycling, alongside resilience in our motoring products and services businesses”.
Halfords has since “seen some impact on trading as the second national lockdown came into force”.
The retailer said cycling has continued to grow, that there was an “immediate upturn” in its Mobile Expert business.
However, sales of motoring products have been affected as car traffic dropped from pre-Covid-19 levels.
“We are very pleased to have achieved such a strong first-half performance against the backdrop of one of the most challenging trading environments in recent history,” Halfords chief executive Graham Stapleton said.
“It is a great testament to the strength and adaptability of our business, as well as to the professionalism, hard work and dedication of our colleagues.
“We have worked hard to capitalise on the cycling market tailwinds by sourcing more stock from existing and new suppliers, as well as launching new products and brands to serve the high level of demand for our cycling products and services.
“Despite the headwinds we have seen in motoring, with UK traffic 30 per cent lower than pre-Covid-19 levels and the impact of the MOT deferment, our ‘Road Ready’ campaign and the investments we have made in our motoring services business have enabled us to increase market share and grow the business in quarter two.”