Halfords’ profits and sales increased in its first full year under chief executive Matt Davies’ three-year plan to create sales of £1bn.
In the year to March 28 the car part and cycle specialist posted pre-tax profit before exceptionals up 1.1% to £72.6m. Total sales surged 7.9% to £939.7m and like-for-like sales jumped 6.5%.
Retail sales increased 7.7% to £803.1m with like-for-likes up 7.6%, and sales at its garage Autocentres business advanced 8.6% with like-for-likes down 0.1%.
Halfords revealed gross margin across its retail business fell by 144 basis points as its Autocentres recorded a 78 point increase but it said this was in line with guidance.
Halfords group EBITDA fell 2.3% to £101.1m.
Halfords chief executive Matt Davies said: “In the first year of our Getting Into Gear strategy our targets presented a year ago have been achieved. We are getting better prepared to delight our customers both in-store and online and we’re making good progress with our refreshed stores, our infrastructure and the product range. Despite challenging sales comparatives ahead, I now anticipate Halfords delivering a FY15* Group EBITDA ahead of FY13.”
Last year Davies outlined a three-year £100m strategy which would see the business generate sales of £1bn by 2016.
In the year Halfords increased investment 61.7% to £30.4m as it refreshed 27 stores to its new shop fit, launched a new website in November and increased cycling like-for-likes 19.4% in the year, boosted by a 41.6% like-for-like surge in its fourth quarter.
Additionally, across the year car maintenance like-for-like sales increased 4.9%, car enhancement was down 0.1% and travel solutions were up 2.1%.
Davies added: “This was a year of significant retail sales growth and the start of a strategic investment programme designed to deliver sustainable profit growth over the medium term. Our actions resulted in a particularly strong performance in every element of our cycling category, illustrating our leading and growing role in the market. Car maintenance sales were also encouraging, especially against the backdrop of a mild winter. Within Autocentres new leadership is now in place as we look to grow profitability in that business.”