Halfords latest financial summary has shown only a mildly improved performance, with the cycling division’s retail sales up 0.8% like-for-like.
A hot and dry summer period offset a poor start to the year, with electric bike sales said to be the main driver for the slim growth.
Graham Stapleton, Chief Executive, commented: “I am pleased with the trading performance for the first 20 weeks of the year in what continues to be a challenging retail environment. In Retail, sales growth was supported by fitting services, new ranges of workshop and car cleaning products, and electric bikes. In Autocentres, we continued to build momentum on our transformation plan. I look forward to presenting our strategy update at our capital markets event on 27th September.”
Group performance saw an overall 2.8% positive swing like-for-like, with retail business up 2.6% and the autocentre arm delivering a 4% improvement.
Online group sales saw the largest gain, adding 11.3% like-for-like, with click and collect representing a massive 85% of transactions.
Investors in the business drove shares up 7% to 349.4 pence, meaning the retailer has a market value of £653 million.
This is a marked improvement over the last round of financial guidance, which saw market capitalisation decline by nearly a tenth.
Halfords operates 454 branches and 21 under the Cycle Republic banner, which just this week opened up in Gateshead. The group also incorporates Tredz and Wheelies.co.uk. The group now employs around 10,000 in the UK.