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Halfords hails 'exceptional' Autocentres performance but bike sales drop

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Thursday 13 Jan 2022

Halfords hails 'exceptional' Autocentres performance but bike sales drop

(Sharecast News) - Halfords backed its full-year profit expectations on Thursday as it reported a strong third-quarter sales performance from Autocentres but a drop in bike sales.
In an update for the 13 weeks to the end of December 2021, the company said total group sales rose 2.7% compared to FY21.

Halfords hailed an "exceptional" performance from Autocentres, which saw sales surge 90.2% on a two-year basis and 48% versus FY21. Halfords said the performance was driven by a strong third-quarter MOT peak and its ongoing investment in digital platforms and building brand awareness.

However, the retail cycling business saw sales drop 23.8% on a one-year basis and 2.1% on a two-year basis. Halfords said kids bikes sales started well but softened later in the period. In addition, unexpected freight delays in junior bikes compounded the impacts of Omicron, including lower footfall and general customer caution.

Halfords said it was still targeting a full-year underlying profit before tax on a post-IFRS 16 basis of £80m to £90m.

"The Omicron impact seen in December shows that the challenges associated with Covid-19 are still present," it said. "Our guidance assumes that the impacts of Omicron continue to diminish, and that we do not experience further variants of similar severity.

"Looking further ahead, we remain confident that our ongoing strategic investment will continue to build resilience and underpin future growth, and we look forward to building on our progress to date."

At 0845 GMT, the shares were down 3.2% at 350.20p.



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