Halfords has reported a robust set of results for the festive period, with the bicycles to car parts chain planning to motor on after acquiring a minority stake in a mobile tyre-fitting business.
The retailer reported a 5.9 per cent jump in like-for-like sales in the third quarter, which includes the critical Christmas trading period. Total sales rose 11.4 per cent in the 15 weeks to 13 January.
The firm also announced it has splashed out £8 million on a minority holding in TyresOnTheDrive.com as part of plans to trial a “mobile delivery proposition for its motoring services”.
Chief executive Jill McDonald said: “I am very pleased with the strong sales performance across our business in the important third quarter of the year.
“We continue to make good progress implementing our ‘Moving up a Gear’ strategy, which will enable us to capitalise on the long-term growth opportunities in our markets.”
Retail like-for-like sales rose 7 per cent, with motoring up 6.8 per cent and cycling revenue increasing 7.4 per cent in the period. The only blot was a 0.6 per cent dip at its autocentres arm.
Halfords said its board has approved a special dividend of 10p per share, totalling about £20m,
Last year the retailer said it had been stung by the collapse in the value of the pound, which contributed to profits slumping 16 per cent in the first half of the year.
Halfords said in November that sharp falls in sterling since the Brexit vote had sent the cost of imported goods surging by £6m in its first half.
However, the company said today: “We have developed detailed plans in response to the increase in costs from adverse foreign exchange movement and we are confident that we will be able to fully mitigate the impact over time.”
Halfords added that it is on track to meet current profit expectations. It is due to report its annual results on 25 May.