Halfords Group plc reported same-store sales by its Cycling and Travel Solutions stores increased 7.6 percent and 5.7 percent respectively in the 15 weeks and fiscal third quarter ended Jan. 9.

The UK’s leading retailer of automotive and leisure products and services and a leading independent operator in garage servicing and auto repair, reported overall retail sales grew 6.5 percent.

The company said Cycling sales growth continued against a tough comparative and the Children’s Bikes was the standout performer. In the company's Travel Solutions segment, which sells and installs cargo carriers, tents and other gear for family adventures, Child Car Seats and a new seasonal gift offering performed best.
Online Retail sales grew 16.5 percent, representing a record 12.9 percent of total Retail sales.

Halfords has amended its revolving credit facility from £200m to £170m and extended the facility to November 2019. The financial covenants remain unchanged from the previous facility that was due to mature in November 2017. Full current year Net Finance Costs are now expected to be in the range of £3.0m to £4.0m (previous guidance: £3.5m to £4.5m).

Halfords now anticipates the full year Retail gross-margin to be in the better half of the guided year-on-year range of -25 to -75 bps, with full year Retail operating costs at the higher end of the 5-6 percent uplift guidance. Other than the reduction in net finance costs noted below, there were no changes to the company's full-year expectation and guidance.

“We are delighted to report strong Q3 sales, demonstrating our ability to continue to drive top-line growth,” said Halfords CEO Matt Davies. “The standout performer this quarter was Car Maintenance, with our service-led wefit offer again achieving record levels of Parts fitting, along with an excellent Parts sales performance, particularly in car batteries. Cycling sales continue to be strong, with Children’s Bikes sales up 13.8 percent highlighting that, with the right product and service offer, a bike remains a popular Christmas present. Investment in our omni-channel proposition helped online sales grow to record levels, driven by Click & Collect. A further 9 stores were refreshed in the period to put us on track for 70-75 refreshes by the end of the year. We also opened our first Cycle Republic store in London, with a second opening at the end of January.
Autocentres’ improved performance in the quarter was encouraging and a further 4 centres were opened, including a new concept centre in Croydon.”

Halfords is the UK's leading retailer of automotive, cycling and leisure products and, through Halfords Autocentres, also one of the UK's leading independent car servicing and repair operators. Halfords customers shop at 466 stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland, including a Halfords ‘Cycle Republic’ shop in Central London, and at halfords.com for pick-up at their local store or direct home delivery. Halfords Autocentres operates from 302 sites nationally and offers motorists dealership- quality MOTs, repairs and car servicing at affordable prices.