StockMarketWire.com - Halfords said it continued to expect flat profit growth after reporting Thursday pre-tax profit fell by nearly fifth in the first half of the year as increased investment and one-off costs weighed.

'We continue to anticipate FY19 Group profit before tax broadly unchanged on FY18, with H2 performance reflecting a shift in our sales mix towards less discretionary categories, greater FX benefit of circa £3m and lower Retail operating cost growth (circa 3% in H2 vs 8% in H1),' the company said.

For the six months to 30 September, pre-tax profit fell 23% to £28.2m from a year earlier and revenue increased 1.9% to £600m.

Total operating costs increased 8% to £211m owing to a weak start to the cycling season, inflationary impact and investment in new stores, the company said.

The company declared an interim dividend of 6.18p, up 3% on last year.

'Despite the challenging UK consumer environment, we delivered a robust sales and cash flow performance in the first half, with costs and profit broadly in line with our expectations,' said chief executive Graham Stapleton.

'We are making good early progress as we implement our new strategy, and we are encouraged by the initial signs.'


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