Halfords is to ramp up its online operations and revealed a 2.2% uplift in second-quarter sales.
The car accessories and cycling specialist will expand its range of web-only products. Chief executive David Wild said Halfords.com has 500 web-only products but will add another 2,000 over the next fortnight and “several thousand more” next year.
Wild said: “The web allows us to go deeper into certain categories without taking up store space.”
He said new product lines will include a bigger camping equipment range and wider selections of child seats and bike accessories.
For the second quarter and first half ending October 2, Halfords enhanced its range in markets such as camping to take advantage of the staycation trend. Wild said:
“We don’t think staycations are one-offs because of the recession - camping and outdoor leisure activities are becoming more popular in general.”
In the second quarter, group sales increased 3.8%. Year-on-year sales growth for the first half was 3.4% and 1.7% like for like. Adjusting for the impact of Easter, sales growth was 2.8% - a like-for-like increase of 1.1%.
Altium analyst David Stoddart noted concerns about the declining sales in product categories such as sat-navs but said: “That would have been true of eight-track cartridges and in-car cassette players some years ago; there will be other technologies to sustain car enhancement.”
Halfords remained confident of delivering half-year pre-tax profit of between £59m and £61m.
Oriel Securities analyst Jonathan Pritchard said Halfords is “a market leader that is erecting barriers to entry with service and scale, with good growth opportunities and the chance to widen operating margins.”