Halfords reports that its Autocentres car repair chain grew sales by 18.8% in its financial year to April 3, helped by acquisitions and Halfords being deemed an essential retailer during lockdown.
Like for like growth in vehicle maintenance, removing the acquired McConchey’s and Tyres On The Drive businesses, was 1.4%.
Halfords said the underlying Autocentres business “continued to make good progress on its strategic execution” and increased EBIT by more than 40% to £7.8 million.
Chief executive Graham Stapleton said: “Our Autocentres business grew strongly, boosted by the acquisitions of both McConechy’s and Tyres on the Drive, and more broadly in motoring services we expanded our fleet of Mobile Expert vans from 3 to 75. This was particularly timely given strong demand for at-home services.”
Stapleton said Halfords’ status as an essential retailer during the COVID-19 lockdown was “a clear endorsement of the wider role that Halfords has to play in keeping the UK moving”.
“Having responded quickly and decisively to cater for the surge in popularity of cycling during lockdown, we are now 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,” he added.
Group revenue totalled £1.15 billion, of which the Autocentres contributed £194m, and total underlying profit before tax was £52.6m, down 4.9% on 2019.
Halfords revealed in 2019 it aims to become the "go-to provider" for servicing of electric cars and bikes.
It has been restructuring the Autocentres network to increase its profitability.