January 10, 2019 / 8:03 AM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 1-Halfords shares set to sink on profit warning

(Adds details on outlook, share movement)

Jan 10 (Reuters) - British bicycles-to-car parts retailer Halfords Group Plc warned on Thursday that consumer confidence could remain weak into next year, hitting its operating profit.

Shares of the company are expected to fall 15 percent to 20 percent, according to premarket indicators as it joined a host of other British retailers issuing profit warnings.

Retailers in the UK are being pinched by sluggish spending amid squeezed household incomes and uncertainty ahead of Britain’s planned departure from the European Union.

Halfords, which was founded in 1892 and was bought four times before its London market debut in 2004, now expects pretax profit for the next year will be broadly flat.

The company, which had in November reported a 17.1 percent drop in first-half profit, revised its pretax profit for the current year to a range of 58 million pounds ($74.08 million) to 62 million pounds.

Halfords had previously warned profit will not grow until its 2021 financial year, as it ramps up investing in its stores, services and digital operations to improve in a fiercely competitive retail space. ($1 = 0.7830 pounds) (Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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