- Motoring and cycling products and services provider Halfords said it remained 'cautious' on its outlook for the months ahead despite reporting better-than-expected annual profit.

For the 53 weeks to 3 April 2020, underlying pre-tax profit fell to 4.9% to £55.9m, but that was ahead of guidance despite the late impact of Covid-19.

Its autocenters business grew revenue 18.8%, boosted by the acquisitions of both McConechy's and Tyres on the Drive, the company said.

Gross margin improved by 27 basis points, with underlying improvements more than offsetting the dilutive impact of acquisitions.

In its motoring, the company said sales of big-ticket discretionary products and winter items were weaker, but said it had seen signs of improvement after the nationwide lockdown was lifted.

The company said it was seeing 'increased demand for motoring services and products as people start using their cars regularly again having not done so for the last few months.'

Looking to the months ahead, the company said it remained cautious on outlook.

'Despite a better than anticipated trading performance in first quarter, the uncertainty that currently exists because of COVID-19 means that we have withdrawn guidance for 2021. Although trading has been ahead of the scenario we shared on 25 March 2020, we remain cautious on the months ahead,' the company said.

At 8:45am: [LON:HFD] Halfords Group PLC share price was -17p at 160p

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