• Retail like-for-likes up 7% in the 15 weeks to January 12
  • Group sales jump 11.4%
  • Service-related sales up 13.7% on a like-for-like basis
  • Group online like-for-likes grow 16.3%

Cycling and motoring specialist Halfords unveiled a like-for-like sales increase in its third quarter as its ‘moving up a gear’ strategy starts to pay off.

Like-for-like sales jumped 5.9% across the business in 15 weeks to January 12, with a 7% year-on-year increase in retail like-for-likes.

Overall sales grew 11.4%, as the retailer’s improvement strategy began to bear fruit.

Halfords chief executive Jill McDonald said: “We continue to make good progress implementing our “Moving up a Gear” strategy, which will enable us to capitalise on the long-term growth opportunities in our markets.

“We benefited from growth in new ranges, our unique “wefit” services and great execution by our colleagues over the busy peak period.”

Last month, Halfords lifted the curtain on a ‘store of the future’ concept, designed to make its shops easier to navigate.

Batteries, dashcams and child seats were among the strongest sellers across Halfords’ 460 stores and online.

Sales jumped 13.7% at its service division on a like-for-like basis and the retailer said its recently acquired Cycle Republic and Tredz brands “continued to grow strongly”.

The next move

Halfords has snapped up a £8m stake in TyresOnTheDrive.com, it unveiled today. 

It plans to share “capability and expertise” with the mobile tyre-fitting business following a new operating agreement.

Shares in the business slipped almost 6% earlier this month following a warning by analysts at Deutsche Bank over retail prospects for 2017.

However, the retailer said today it has “developed detailed plans in response to the increase in costs from adverse Forex movement” and is confident it will be able to “fully mitigate the impact over time”.

Halfords’ pre-tax profits dropped 12.1% to £40.8m at the half-year stage, despite a 2.4% climb in like-for-like retail sales during the period.

Jill McDonald will be on stage at Retail Week Live, the UK’s premier festival of retail and consumer commerce, taking place in London on March 8-9, 2017. The event attracts over 1,200 retail chiefs and leading business personalities who gather to experience the unique combination of networking, inspiring content, strategic thinking and innovation. To book your ticket visit: www.live.retail-week.com