Profits double at Halfords after bike sales soar among locked down Brits

Bosses at Halfords believe they will manage to double profits at the company, after bike sales soared among stuck-at-home Britons.

Bike sales have soared with Halfords.

The company said it expects pre-tax profits for the year ending in April will hit between £90 million and £100 million, up from £52.6 million a year earlier.

Before the announcement analysts had expected a figure of around £70.2 million, according to a company-provided consensus.

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The figures are the first Halfords has provided for the current financial crisis after it stopped guiding due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Less than two months ago it had said it would “not be appropriate” to give profits guidance at the moment.

Many companies have withdrawn their guidance due to the pandemic, and Halfords acknowledged that its range was wide.

It said in a statement: “Although only six weeks remain of the 2021 financial year, the expected profit range remains quite broad as trading patterns continue to be volatile, with sales ahead of Easter particularly difficult to predict whilst the UK remains in lockdown.

“As the country starts to open up once more, our overriding priority remains the health and safety of our colleagues and customers.”

Halfords has continued to see volatility in the last seven weeks since its third quarter ended, but trading has been better than anticipated.

Bike sales remain high, with sales at its cycling business up 43% during the period compared with last year, on a like-for-like basis.

Halfords said a 14% decline in motoring sales was better than traffic levels would suggest as there has been a 40% drop in car journeys.

But sales of bulbs, batteries and general maintenance products have remained good, the business said.

“Although we have continued to experience a volatile trading environment across the first seven weeks of the fourth quarter, overall trading has been stronger than we initially anticipated across the business,” Halfords said.

Full-year results will be announced on June 17.