Halfords Group PLC
07 February 2008
7 February 2008
Halfords Group Plc ("halfords")
interim management statement
Halfords sales growth continues
Halfords, the UK's leading auto, leisure and cycling products retailer,
announces an interim management statement for the 43 weeks to 25 January 2008.
Sales for the period under review increased by 7.0% over the equivalent period
in 2007 with like-for-like sales increasing by 4.1%. In the 17 week period since
the half year, sales have grown by 5.0% and like-for-like sales by 2.0%, against
a challenging comparison following an exceptional Autumn 2006 when Halfords
benefited from certain one-off events, most notably the change in child seat
legislation. Adjusting for the impact of child seats, underlying like-for-like
sales growth in this 17 week period was 3.2 %.
Halfords resilience is demonstrated by the continuing sales growth in each core
category. In the 17 week period: Car Maintenance has performed strongly,
providing further evidence of Halfords core defensiveness. In-car technology
delivered year-on-year growth in both volume and value, underpinned by our
fitting and service strength, and Leisure benefited from the successful launch
of an improved children's cycle range.
Halfords' multi-channel capability was enhanced by the pre-Christmas launch of
our "Reserve on line, collect in store" service, which has resulted in almost
100,000 orders being taken.
Gross profit is in line with expectations and we remain on track to deliver a
full year gross margin per cent in line with the guidance previously given.
We now have 440 stores trading, which will grow to approximately 450 by the end
of the financial year. Our intention remains to open at least 20 stores per
annum in the medium term. Sales performance from our 19 international stores
remains encouraging and we will therefore add further stores to the 16 stores in
the Republic of Ireland and 3 stores in the Czech Republic.
Halfords has completed its initial ?50m share buyback, (announced on 8 June
2006), ahead of schedule on 31 January 2008, having bought back 14.8m shares for
cancellation at an average price of 338.5 pence per share. The directors will
continue to optimise the Group's balance sheet to enhance shareholder returns
and intend to continue the share buy-back as a flexible tool in balance sheet
Ian McLeod, Chief Executive, said:
"These results are pleasing as they once again demonstrate the resilient and
defensive nature of Halfords. We continue to enjoy growth in each of our key
sales categories underlining our strength, destination store status and market
leadership across Car Maintenance, Car Enhancement and Cycling. Following a
challenging Autumn, like-for-like sales have strengthened, giving us confidence
in our prospects for the rest of the financial year and we remain well placed to
deliver full year profit in line with expectations."
Halfords will announce a trading update on Thursday 3 April 2008 and its
preliminary results for the 52 weeks ended 28 March 2008 on Thursday, 5 June
There will be a conference call for analysts today, Thursday 7 February 2008, at
08:00 hours (UK time), telephone number: 44 (0)20 7162 0025.
Halfords Group plc (www.halfordscompany.co.uk)
Tony Newbould, Investor Relations 44 (0)7753 809522 (on the day)
44 (0)1527 513113 (thereafter)
Julian Walker, James Longfield 44 (0) 207 357 9477
Notes to Editors
Halfords (www.halfords.co.uk) is the UK's leading auto, leisure and cycling
products retailer. The Group sells 11,000 different product lines and employs
over 10,000 colleagues across its 440 stores (421 UK, 16 Republic of Ireland and
3 Czech Republic) and its online channels.
Halfords has leading market positions in each of its core categories:
? Car Maintenance - the UK's largest range of car parts and accessories;
? Car Enhancement - in-car entertainment, satellite navigation, car body styling
and alloy wheels;
? Leisure - bikes, cycling accessories, camping equipment and travel solutions.
Halfords' own brands include Ripspeed, for car enhancement, Bikehut, for cycles
and cycling accessories, including the Apollo and Carrera brands and Urban
Escape for its premium range of camping equipment.
The Group trades as Halfords through three formats: superstore (388 stores - ave
10,000 sq ft) neighbourhood (17 stores - ave 5,000 sq ft) and Metro (31 stores -
ave 2,000 sq ft). It also operates 4 stand-alone, specialist cycling stores
under the Bikehut fascia.
Halfords offers high levels of customer service, including the 'we fit' offering
for car parts, child seats, SatNav and in-car entertainment systems and the 'we
repair' offering for bicycles.
This report contains certain forward-looking statements with respect to the
financial condition, results of operations, and businesses of Halfords Group
plc. These statements and forecasts involve risk, uncertainty and assumptions
because they relate to events and depend upon circumstances that will occur in
the future. There are a number of factors which could cause actual results or
developments to differ materially from those expressed or implied by these
forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are made only as at
the date of this announcement. Nothing in this announcement should be construed
as a profit forecast. Except as required by law, Halfords Group plc has no
obligation to update the forward-looking statements or to correct any
This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange