Halfords issues profit warning amidst tough cycling market conditions

Halfords has issued a profit warning for its latest financial year, stating that it now expects pre-tax profits to fall in the range of £35 million to £40 million.

The new guidance is significantly below the motor and cycling retailer's previously anticipated £48 million to £53 million for the year ended 29 March.

The company said the adjustment was down to the cycling and retail motoring markets having been affected by a combination of continued weak customer confidence and recent wet weather which affected footfall into stores and sales in categories such as winter and car cleaning products.

Halfords went on to share that the volume in the retail motoring market experienced a 5.1 per cent year on year fall in January, with volume in the cycling market dropping by eight per cent in January.

It said the cycling market continuing to consolidate had proven to be a further challenge.

“Promotional participation has increased, and more customers are purchasing on credit, leading to weaker gross margins than previously anticipated,” Halfords noted.

The remarks by Halfords are, according to GlobalData, indicative of a “weak retail proposition”.

“As the most needs-based part of its business, Halfords’ autocentres have remained resilient, with more consumers maintaining their cars rather than replacing them in a tough economic environment,” said Jamel Boughedda, associate analyst at GlobalData. “This should be holding up a declining retail market, but the fact that is hasn’t is concerning for Halfords.”

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