Motoring and leisure group Halfords is confident of meeting full-year profit expectations after reporting a strong first half.

The retailer notched up a 24% increase in interim profits to £60.9m on sales ahead 3.8% to £425.1m and like-for-likes advanced 1.7%.

Sales from Halfords’ multichannel business rose by 50% to account for 5.2% of the total, and the retailer’s growing leisure offer delivered an “excellent” performance. Leisure categories and services such as fitting helped the retailer broaden its shopper base.

Finance director Nick Wharton said the first half reassured that “the consumer does still exist”, although trading conditions remain quite “challenging”.

Citi analyst Ben Spruntulis, advising buy, said: “Halfords has consistently delivered profit trends and returns that are above average for quoted UK retailers.”