E Point Perfect

Halfords boss warns cost-of-living crisis could lead to road safety risks

Halfords boss warns cost-of-living crisis could lead to road safety risks
Halfords said it will continue to target pre-tax profit of between £65 million and £75 million
// Halfords has reported rising sales, boosted by its expanding car repairs business
// The retailer warned that the cost of living crisis could cause consumers to continue driving dangerous cars

The boss of Halfords has warned that the cost-of-living crisis is creating “a risk to road safety” as drivers struggle with maintenance costs.

The warning came as the motoring retailer reported a jump in sales over the past 20 weeks – boosted by its expanding car repairs business.

The specialist retailer said total revenues grew by 9.2% over the 20 weeks to August 19, compared with the same period last year.

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However, like-for-like sales dipped 1.9% compared to the year before, for the 20-week period to 19 August 2022 as sales last year benefitted from the end of lockdown in the UK.

“Based on what we’re seeing in our garages and taking into account continuing issues with the supply of new cars, we believe the average age of cars will pass the nine year mark very soon and could even creep above ten years before the cost-of-living crisis eases,” said chief executive Graham Stapleton.

Bosses at the business said its latest performance has been “in line” with expectations and held firm on targets of an underlying pre-tax profit of between £65 and £75 million for the current financial year, providing there were no material changes in the macro-economic environment or consumer spending patterns in the remainder of the year.

Stapleton said Halfords is “working extremely hard” to help its customers with the cost-of-living crisis and has dropped prices across nearly 2,000 motoring essentials, ensuring that products remain accessible and affordable for all.

“Our Motoring Loyalty Club is also proving to be extremely popular and has already attracted over half a million members since its launch in March, with benefits including MOT discounts and a free 10-point car health-check, putting almost £14m of savings directly back into members’ pockets,” said Stapleton.

“We are also determined to do everything that we can to support our fantastic employees whose tireless work and commitment to going the extra mile for our customers is so critical to our performance. Among other initiatives, we are announcing today that we are offering free MOTs to all of our 10,000 colleagues.

“Over 70% of our sales now come from motoring products and services, and the fact that this area of spend tends to be more needs-based rather than discretionary is leading to a very resilient Group performance, despite the wider macroeconomic uncertainty.”

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