Halfords to axe 60 stores, despite strong lockdown sales

Halfords annual profits dented by the pound weakness since June.

Despite strong sales over the lockdown period, Halfords (LON: HFD) has announced plans to close 60 stores across the UK.

Despite a 57.1% increase in sales in the 13 weeks to 3 July, the group has said it will close the stores in the next year, risking hundreds of jobs.

The group currently has 843 sites and employs around 10,000 people.

The news comes as Halfords warned full-year results could fall to a £10mn loss, down from a £53mn profit a year earlier.

The company said in a statement: “Covid-19 has materially changed the retail outlook for the coming months and has overshadowed Brexit as the emerging risk.”

On the strong sales growth during the lockdown, the chief executive Graham Stapleton, said: “This is not a normal demand curve. We are still not able to meet full demand from the market but week on week it is getting better. There is absolutely no evidence at all that we can see that the cycling trend won’t continue. Sales remain very strong.”

Despite the growth in bike sales, however, the demand for the group’s car servicing, spare parts, and MOT fell as people remained home over lockdown.

The latest store closures are a blow to the retail sector, where Halfords is the latest on the high street to announce a string of store closures. Last week, Boots confirmed plans to axe 4,000 jobs and 48 stores nationwide in response to the Coronavirus pandemic.