September 4, 2018 / 6:23 AM / 8 months ago

Halfords maintains full-year guidance on solid sales rise

FILE PHOTO: A Halfords sign is seen outside a store in London, Britain April 10, 2016. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

LONDON (Reuters) - British bicycles-to-car-parts retailer Halfords (HFD.L) maintained its full-year profit guidance on Tuesday as it reported a rise in underlying sales in a tough trading environment.

Halfords, which issued a profit warning in May, said group like-for-like sales rose 2.8 percent in the 20 weeks to August 17, with retail like-for-like sales up 2.6 percent and sales at its vehicle maintenance Autocentres chain up 4.0 percent on the same basis.

A squeeze on British consumers from above-target inflation and sluggish wage growth is denting spending on goods other than food. Industry data for August also published on Tuesday showed total UK spending was up just 1.3 percent on a year earlier.

Chief Executive Graham Stapleton said Halfords had delivered a solid outcome. “I am pleased with the trading performance for the first 20 weeks of the year in what continues to be a challenging retail environment,” he said.

Stapleton, a former Dixons Carphone (DC.L) executive who joined Halfords in January, highlighted sales of fitting services, new ranges of car cleaning products and electric bikes. He plans to update on strategy at a capital markets event on Sept. 27.

Halfords forecast a 2018-19 underlying pretax profit broadly in line with the 71.6 million pounds made in 2017-18.

Shares in Halfords, down 6 percent so far this year, closed Monday at 328.8 pence, valuing the business at 659.3 million pounds.

Reporting by James Davey, Editing by Paul Sandle

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