Halfords’ profit before tax and non-recurring items increased 10.8% to £49.4m in the first half as its retail strategy bore fruit.

Group EBITDA was up 6.7% to £63.6m in the 26 weeks to September 26 at the car parts and bikes retailer.

Retail like-for-likes were up 6.8% in the first half, but were on a slowing trend, rising by 5.7% in the second quarter. Retail revenue increased 6.6% to £451.9m in the half.

Group revenues were up 6.8% to £524.1m.

Cycling sales jumped 16% in the first half while car maintenance sales increased 7.1% in the second quarter.

Online retail sales rose 13.7%  in the half and represent 12.2% of total sales.

The 465-store retailer said it had seen “further success” of its Getting Into Gear retail strategy, with 46 stores now trading under a revamped format. It also launched a “successful” trial of five-days-a-week delivery to store and competed an “essential” SAP upgrade.

Halfords chief executive Matt Davies said: “This was a strong performance against particularly tough comparatives and we are pleased overall with the progress we are making under our Getting Into Gear Retail plan.

“A strengthened cycling offer was underpinned by the acquisition of Boardman Bikes whilst Halfords continued to build its auto credentials with the launch of Car Parts Direct.

“More retail colleagues completed their Gear-2 training, the supply chain and IT infrastructure improved further and refreshed stores performed in line with expectations.

“Autocentres delivered an improved sales performance, with new management focused on the motorist experience. I look forward to a second half where we will continue to position Halfords to deliver sustainable profit growth.”

Halfords’ Getting into Gear strategy encompasses five strands:

  • Service revolution,
  • ‘The H Factor’ -  become the authority to support drivers of every car, inspire cyclists of every age and equip families for their leisure time
  • Stores Fit to Shop,
  • 21st Century Infrastructure
  • Click with the Digital Future