Car part and bike specialist Halfords has posted like-for-likes up 5.6% in its second quarter, reversing the decline it reported in the first quarter.

The “strong” performance comes as new chief executive Matt Davies takes up his role today, as revealed by yesterday.

For the second quarter to September 28, Halfords group turnover advanced 6.2%, while retail was up 4.3% and the Autocentres business rocketed 19.9%.

Halfords’ retail division recorded a 4.6% jump in like-for-likes in the period.

The Autocentres business posted its strongest like-for-like performance since Halfords bought it in 2010, recording a 12.4% like-for-like increase.

Halfords said the positive performance was due to the good weather and Tour de France driving bicycle sales, pushing like-for-likes up 14.7%. Car maintenance had a “solid performance” with like-for-likes up 2.7%.

Online sales rocketed 30% as a result of an improved multichannel offer.

Full-year profit before tax is expected to be in the upper half of market expectations of £62m to £70m because of the strong second-quarter performance, pushing first-half group revenue up 0.4% and making up ground on like-for-likes which slipped just 0.1% in the same period.

Interim executive chairman Dennis Millard said: “Our trading stance, together with the actions we took to capitalise on a successful summer of sport and improved weather, meant we delivered a stronger retail top line in the period, recovering some of the ground lost in the spring. 

“We continued to be encouraged by the performance of Autocentres. Our second-half planning assumptions, however, remain cautious given the prevailing pressures on the consumer as we approach the important winter and Christmas trading periods.”

He added that Halfords will continue to focus on its service offer, aiming to drive “sustainable medium-term growth”.

He said Halfords had recruited 450 new fitting staff and retrained existing staff to help grow sales of its We Fit offer.