StockMarketWire.com - Halfords Group cut its guidance on profits blaming a 'challenging' third quarter, driven by 'exceptionally' mild weather and ongoing weak consumer confidence.

The company expected 2019 underlying profit before tax to be in the range of £58m to £62m, down from a previous guidance of £71.6m.

The company blamed the softer outlook on weaker revenue in the quarter.

For the 14-week period to 4 January, total revenue fell 2% and 1.7% on a like-for-like basis.

Revenues in retail fell 2.5%, hurt by mild weather and ongoing weak consumer confidence.

While, Autocentres like-for-like growth was one of the few bright spots growing 1.4% on growth in services and maintenance work.

Group online sales, which represent 20% of total sales, grew 7.5% with over 80% of Halfords.com orders collected in store, the company said.

'This has been a challenging third quarter for the business, driven by exceptionally mild weather and ongoing weak consumer confidence,' said Graham Stapleton, Chief Executive Officer.

'Together, these factors have led us to reduce our profit expectations. Whilst this has been a difficult period, we have managed costs and margin well and our free cash flow remains strong. Halfords is a robust business and we firmly believe that the strategy we outlined in September is the right direction for the business.'

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