Halfords shares fall after big drop in profits

Shares in car parts and bicycle retailer Halfords were hit after it posted a big drop in annual profits.

Pre-tax profits for the 12 months to end-March fell almost 25% to £71m compared with a year earlier.

Halfords said trading was "demanding", and announced a big investment plan including store revamps.

Chief executive Matt Davies said the investment would hit short-term profitability. Halfords shares fell more than 14% in early trading.

Mr Davies said the investment plan was designed to "significantly improve our retail customer experience and bring about sustainable and profitable sales-growth momentum".

"This programme will focus on supporting our colleagues to deliver consistent friendly expertise backed by major improvements in store environments, plus building on the authority of our offer, infrastructure and digital capabilities," he said.

Total revenues were up slightly, rising 1% to £871m, but its car parts and maintenance business saw stronger revenue growth, while sales at retail outlets fell slightly.

That was despite a big boost to bicycle sales in the summer, which rose on the back of the popularity of cycling during the London Olympics.

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