Halfords has reported falling half-year profits despite a sales increase as it begins to implement its new strategy.

Pre-tax profits dropped 23% to £28.2m despite sales rising 1.9% to £599.9m, up 2.5% on a like-for-like basis in the 26 weeks to September 28, 2018.

In Halfords’ main retail arm, sales rose 1.7% to £519.8m, up 2.3% on a like-for-like basis.

Graham Stapleton

Graham Stapleton said Halfords was ‘encouraged by the initial signs’ from its new strategy

Growth at its smaller auto centres business outstripped this, growing 3.1% to £80.1m, up 3.3% on a like-for-like basis.

The group is beginning to implement its new strategy, which centres on a super-specialised shopping experience and more convenient and unique services.

It will support this strategy with an accelerated programme of investment to help drive sustainable growth. Capex will increase from £40m to between £40m and £60m each year with “significant” investment across stores, garages and digital. The retailer will fund this increase by cutting costs.

Chief executive Graham Stapleton said: “We are making good early progress as we implement our new strategy, and we are encouraged by the initial signs. We are moving to a more customer-centric approach, leveraging our expertise to provide a more differentiated shopping experience and an integrated and more convenient services offer.”