(Sharecast News) - Halfords shares soared on Thursday after the company raised profit guidance on the back of surging demand for bikes during the coronavirus pandemic and added that it intended to hire hundreds of new technicians.
The stock was up by a fifth as Halfords said first half pre-tax profit was now expected to be more than £55m, from the £35m - £40m previously guided.
Cycling product sales were up 46% year-on-year in the five weeks to September 25, driving group like-for-like sales growth of 22%.
Halfords, which also sells car parts and accessories, previously reported booming September sales as Britons holidayed at home fearing late changes in quarantine rules by the government that could leave them stranded overseas.
It warned at the time that that the trend could fade as the holiday season ended.
The company said its autocentres business continued to grow strongly, with like-for-like sales up 18%, including "exceptional" demand for its growing 'Mobile Expert' car repair and fitting service "driven by customers seeking greater convenience and safety from our fleet of vans".
"With the substantial growth we have seen in our motoring services business across both retail and Autocentres, we have launched a national campaign to recruit hundreds of skilled technicians," it added.
However, the company cautioned that the second half of the year would be less predictable as the number of UK Covid-19 cases started to rise.
"The potential impact of second waves of Covid 19 now seems more pronounced than just a few weeks ago, and the economic impact of an end to the furlough scheme and the outcome of Brexit negotiations remains very uncertain," Halfords said in a statement.
(Sharecast News) - The UK's vaccine record was once again broken yesterday, the Department for Health has confirmed, with 873,784 vaccinations registered. This breaks down into 686,424 first doses and 70,449 second doses in England; 59,415 first doses and 13,160 second doses in Scotland; 26,939 first doses and 9,429 second doses in Wales; and 4,785 first doses and 3,183 second doses in Northern Ireland. Yesterday's figures also represent a record amount of first doses in the UK, as well as a record number of doses overall. - Sunday Telegraph