Sat Nav sales boost performance
Car parts to cycles retailer Halfords has reported strong interim results, highlighting the group's defensive qualities.

The retailer unveiled a like-for-like sales rise of 2.6 per cent and a pre-tax profit jump of 20.6 per cent, to£40.4 million for the 26 weeks to September 30. The store group's performance was strengthened by sales of bikes and car technology gear such as Sat Nav devices.

Halfords chief executive Ian McLeod said: 'In the six weeks since September 30, Halfords' like-for-like sales performance has continued to strengthen, particularly within cycling and in-car technology, giving us confidence for the second half.'

Numis analyst Steve Davies added: 'It's worth remembering that Halfords is much less seasonal than most retailers - profits are split pretty much 50:50 between the first and second halves, so it's not a case of all or nothing as we move into December.'

Halfords is on track to have 100 Supermezzanine stores by the year-end. Shops already converted accounted for 1.6 per cent of sales growth during the first half.

The retailer said that the Christmas season is an important time but not critical, because December traditionally accounts for about one and half times the group's average monthly sales.