Halfords reports trading stronger than expected
Halfords said trading was stronger than it had expected as its Autocentre garage business registered strong demand.
The vehicle maintenance and bike seller said annual pretax profit would be between £90m and £100m after business was better than expected in the first seven weeks of its final quarter.
Halfords said it would repay all the £10.7m of furlough money from the government and that its profit guidance took account of the repayment.
The group's shares rose 11.9% to 324p at 08:15 GMT.
The company said in mid-January that growth had weakened because of Covid-19 lockdowns hitting motoring demand and delays to stock arriving because of logistics holdups. At the time it said the outlook was too uncertain to provide profit guidance.
In the seven weeks to 19 February group like-for-like revenue rose 6.2%. Income rose 5.1% at the retail business and 13.3% at Autocentres, Halfords said on Monday.
"Although we have continued to experience a volatile trading environment across the first seven weeks of Q4, overall trading has been stronger than we initially anticipated across the business," Halfords said.