Motor accessories retailer Halfords reassured that the wheels were not coming off its business as it posted a like-for-like sales jump of 5.5 per cent in the 26 weeks to September 28.

The retailer said revenue for the period rose 8.5 per cent, despite strong comparatives last year, lifted by sales of camping equipment and bikes. There was “balanced” growth across all core categories and gross profit is in line with expectations, Halfords reported.

Chief executive Ian McLeod said: “Our sales and service strategy, particularly in cycling and camping, has delivered an improvement in like-for-like sales growth. This result continues to demonstrate both Halfords’ resilience and its defensive qualities, underpinning our confidence for the second half.”

Seymour Pierce analyst Andrew Wade said: “Although this was a good out-turn for the first half, particularly against 5 per cent like-for-likes last year, the past 11 weeks – since the interim management statement – delivered like-for-like growth of just 3.2 per cent.”

The retailer, which sells one in three bikes in the UK, is expected to post interims on November 22.