Halfords will join the party of retailers updating the market on festive trading next week, with experts forecasting it to emerge as a Christmas winner.
City analysts predict the car parts and bicycles chain will clock like-for-like sales growth of 3.5% at its retail arm in the third quarter, which includes the critical Christmas trading period, helped by softer sales in the same period the year before.
Andrew Wade, analyst at Numis, said: “We note the relatively soft comparative last year.
“Considering this, alongside the relatively encouraging early indicators for Christmas trading, we see scope for an acceleration in retail LFLs from +2.4% in the first half to +3.5%.”
However, Halfords has been stung from the collapse in the value of the pound, which contributed to profits slumping 16% in the first half of the year.
The retailer said in November sharp falls in sterling since the Brexit vote sent the cost of imported goods surging by £6 million in its first half.
It posted pre-tax profits of £39.1 million for the six months to September 30, down from £46.4 million a year earlier as hefty discount promotions for its bicycles range also knocked interim profit margins.