Poor weather helps Halfords' sales

Harsh winter weather helped retailer Halfords register a 27% rise in profits as motorists forked out for car maintenance accessories.

The group slightly exceeded City expectations by posting a surplus of £117.1 million for the year to April 2, while it also reported market share growth in cycling and continued strong sales.

Halfords chief executive David Wild hailed it as an excellent year for the company, with revenues increased by 4.6% to £831.6 million and by 0.7% on a like-for-like basis.

Mr Wild said: "Our performance through this period of recession emphasises the resilient quality and adaptability of the business."

Halfords acquired Nationwide Autocentres for £73.2 million in February as it moved into car servicing and repairs and early trading signs from the new addition are encouraging. Nationwide has 224 sites but Halfords has plans to open another 200 outlets, creating 1,000 jobs.

In car maintenance, which generates around 30% of the company's revenues, like-for-like sales were up by 8% as Halfords increased its market share and benefited from the rise in demand caused by the wintry weather.

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