Motor accessories and leisure group Halfords has posted a 24% rise in first-half profits and is confident of meeting full-year expectations.

Pre-tax profits rose to £60.9m on sales up 3.8% to £425.1m. Like-for-likes were 1.7% ahead.

The retailer reported an “excellent” performance in leisure goods, such as cycling and camping gear. Car maintenance continued to grow, helped by the success of fitting service WeFit, and multichannel sales climbed 50% to account for 5.2% of total revenues. The international business was hit by the effects of the economic downturn, however, and the sat-nav market declined.

Halfords chief executive David Wild said: “Halfords is fast evolving into a true multichannel retailer, with and our WeFit services now making a significant contribution to overall sales and margins.

“Our approach of building on our unique market position with the addition of expert customer services is broadening our appeal to a wider consumer base, especially families. These opportunities provide the basis for long-term sustainable growth.”

Singer analyst Matthew McEachran said: “With its needs-drive offer reproving resilient, growth has not been impacted by the downturn and the business remains highly profitable and cash generative.”