LONDON (Alliance News) - Cycle and car maintenance product retailer Halfords Group PLC Thursday said the strong trading momentum of the previous year continued into the first quarter of its new financial year, driven by strong growth in bicycle sales.
The retailer reported higher profits and revenue in its last financial year, as the UK's growing passion for cycling - and for online shopping - plus a revamp of its products, drove strong growth across the business.
Halfords said Thursday that this trend continued into the new financial year, with total revenue up 7.9% in the 13 weeks to June 27, boosted by a 9.4% increase in autocentres sales, and a 7.7% increase in retail sales.
Retail revenue rose 7.9% on a like-for-like basis, driven by a 21% increase in bicycle sales, while autocentres revenue grew 4.3% on a like-for-like basis.
"Halfords continued to drive top-line growth in the quarter, with the cycling category delivering another exceptional performance....enhanced by favourable weather and increased interest in the Tour de France," said Chief Executive Matt Davies in a statement.
Halfords is one year into its three-year ‘Getting into Gear’ revamp programme, refocusing the shops on the most successful lines of cycles and car maintenance products, giving its staff better training and customer service skills, and improving product ranges and stock availability, which it said has so far paid off. It also has been investing in expanding its autocentres business, which Halfords said has picked up a good momentum.
"Against a challenging comparative, car maintenance sales were satisfactory, whilst significant levels of clearance in car enhancement in the prior year comparative were negated by our continued success in car cleaning," Davies said.
Halfords said car maintenance revenue grew by 0.5% on a like-for-like basis in the first quarter, while car enhancement sales, which include car cleaning, grew only 0.1%. Travel solutions revenues posted 4.2% growth on a like-or-like basis.
Last month, the retailer acquired British bicycle manufacturer Boardman Bikes Ltd and Boardman International Ltd, a company founded by former British track cyclist Chris Boardman, who won an individual pursuit gold medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics.
"The acquisition of Boardman Bikes and the launch of Car Parts Direct had a negligible effect on the sales performance but are illustrations of our intent to grow our authority in cycling and auto," Davies said in a statement Thursday.
Halfords shares initially rose at the market open Thursday, but have since reversed and currently trading 1.6% lower at 484.29 pence.