A second quarter like-for-like sales fall at car parts and bikes specialist Halfords’ retail division was counterbalanced by a strong showing from the Autocentres service business.

Halfords’ retail like-for-likes fell 2.8% in the 13 weeks to September 30, and total sales at the division slipped 2%. That brought the first-half declines to 1.9% and 1.2% respectively.

Cycles performed well for the retailer, following the launch of a new Carrera range in July, and like-for-likes in the category climbed 5.7%.

Autocentres’ like-for-likes rose 3.1% in the quarter and 10.6% in total, bringing the first half advances to 2.7% and 9%.

Halfords chief executive David Wild said: “The tough consumer environment which particularly affects motorists is continuing to influence spending patterns.

“We are taking constructive steps to protect our sales and profitability by delivering real value and service to our customers. There are clear signs that this strategy has had a positive impact in our stores through the summer and we are particularly pleased with the growth in cycles and fitting services.

“Our autocentres have shown impressive revenue growth, counter to the trend in the sector. This demonstrates how the Halfords brand is gaining traction in aftercare and justifies the long-term investments we are making.”

The retailer said that interim profits are likely to come in at between £53m and £55m.