StockMarketWire.com - Cycling and motor equipment retailer Halfords said it expected profit within the top of its guidance as results were boosted by better-than-expected sales in the final weeks of the financial year during the lockdown period.

'We now expect that adjusted pre-tax profit, on a pre-IFRS16 and 52-week basis, will be at the upper end of our previously guided range of £50-55m,' the company said.

Sales for the four weeks to 1 May 2020 were 23% below last year on a like-for-like basis, which was better than we initially anticipated, it added.

This was fairly consistent across the period and reflected a strong performance in cycling, as 'the public explored alternatives to public transport and looked for ways to stay healthy,' Halfords said.

'In motoring, essential categories such as batteries and battery care performed well, but overall weakness reflected a significant reduction in car journeys during the lockdown period,' it added.

The better-than-expected trading and the measures to cut costs also boosted its liquidity position.

On 1 May 2020, the company had approximately £159m of total liquidity available, including overdraft facilities.

'We have since completed a transaction with Pure Scooters Limited to transfer 11 stores and 85 colleagues. The exceptional cost of £25-to-35m that we previously announced is not materially impacted by this transaction,' Halfords said, following its decision in March, to shutdown operations of Cycle Republic.

'Whilst trading since our last update at the end of March has been better than anticipated, driven by a strong performance in cycling, considerable uncertainty remains and as such we continue to take all necessary measures to preserve cash and protect our financial position,' said Graham Stapleton, chief executive.

At 9:52am: [LON:HFD] Halfords Group PLC share price was +14.8p at 130.2p



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