• Halfords reports flat like-for-like retail sales during its third quarter
  • Cycling like-for-likes up 1.1% during 15 weeks to January 15
  • Sales of bikes and cycle repairs offset a small decline in parts, accessories and clothing
  • Car maintenance like-for-likes dip 0.1% after being impacted by warm weather

Halfords has posted flat retail like-for-likes in its third-quarter as sales of bikes and cycle repairs offset a dip in parts, accessories and clothing.

The retailer’s cycling business grew 1.1% on a like-for-like basis during the 15 weeks to January 15.

But its motoring category suffered a 0.6% dip in like-for-likes as car maintenance sales were impacted by warm weather. Halfords said this was partially offset by a “strong performance” in sales of wiper blades, bulbs and the growth of its fitting services.

Group like-for-likes edged up 0.3% during the period as Halfords’ autocentre business outperformed its retail division, posting its ninth consecutive quarter of like-for-like growth. The retailer said like-for-likes increased 1.9% following growth in service, maintenance and repair revenue, but that performance was dented by lower tyre prices.

Halfords enjoyed a record day for online sales during the Black Friday weekend and reported its highest ever day for total sales on December 23.

For the year to date, Halfords said like-for-like sales were up 0.9% in its retail business, driven by motoring categories. Sales of car maintenance products reported a 3.8% uplift in the 41 weeks to January 15, while car enhancement lines posted 0.4% growth. Overall motoring sales were up 2.2% for the year to date, despite the impact of warm weather on third-quarter performance.

Like-for-like cycling sales were down 1.4% year to date despite the positive Christmas quarter.

Halfords boss Jill McDonald said: “We are pleased with the group’s performance, given the unprecedented weather conditions.

“Particularly pleasing was the strong growth in service-related sales and a return to like-for-like growth in cycling. We achieved a record day online over the Black Friday weekend, our highest ever day for total sales on December 23 and further improvements in customer service metrics.”

Halfords said pre-tax profit expectations for the full year remain unchanged, in the range of £78m-£82m. The retailer reports full-year figures on June 1.