Halfords Group PLC (LSE:HFD) upgraded its profits forecast for the current fiscal year after interim revenue and profits were boosted by soaring sales at its Autocentres.
The bikes and car parts group said it now expects underlying pre-tax profits of GBP80mln-GBP90mln for fiscal 2022, up from its previous forecast of above GBP75mln.
“There is good momentum in our existing business, the strategically important area of Motoring Services continues to grow strongly, and our recent acquisitions are all performing well. As a result, despite the challenging trading environment, I am very excited about our future growth prospects,” said chief executive Graham Stapleton.
Pre-tax profit for the 26 weeks to 1 October 2021 rose to GBP64.3mln from GBP55.4mln in the same period last year. Underlying pre-tax profits of 57.9mln were 3.8% higher compared with last year and grew 91.7% from two years ago, before the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
Revenue rose to GBP694.8mln from GBP638.9mln in the first half of fiscal 2021 and GBP582.7mln in pre-pandemic 2020.
Sales in Motoring and Autocentres grew by 7.7% and 88.8% respectively. Cycling sales were 8.8% higher, despite supply chain constraints, which are beginning to ease, Halfords said.
It added that demand for bikes remains good, as does the availability of kid’s bikes and e-bikes ahead of the Christmas trading period.
Stapleton said Halfords is seeing “significant growth in the number of customers choosing electric forms of transport”. Sales of e-bikes, e-scooters and accessories grew by more than 140% on two years ago, and servicing for electric cars in Halford’s garages was up 120% year-on-year.
The company said the second half has started well with sales momentum continuing across its business.
It pointed out that its previously announced investment in motoring pricing and higher transformation spending will have an impact on profits in the short term, but drive long-term growth.
Halfords declared an interim dividend of 3p per share.