Halfords Warns Of Road Safety Risk Due to Cost of Living Crisis

Halfords shares are up more than 11% in early Wednesday trading after the company posted a trading update for the 20-week period to 19 August.

The bicycle and car parts group said revenue grew 9.2% compared to the same period last year, with Autocentres +28.2%, Retail Motoring +8.5%, and Cycling +9.5%. Halfords stated that strategic acquisitions in autocentres are the key driver of total sales growth.

However, they added that in the cycling segment, while revenue increased, its market share growth partially offset the impact of a declining market caused by reduced discretionary spending as consumers deal with surging inflation.

“We are working extremely hard to help our customers with the cost-of-living crisis and have dropped prices across nearly 2,000 motoring essentials, ensuring that products remain accessible and affordable for all,” stated Halfords CEO Graham Stapleton.

In addition, Stapelton warned shareholders that the cost-of-living crisis has created “a risk to road safety” with drivers buying older vehicles and struggling with maintenance costs.

“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 10 years before the cost-of-living crisis eases,” Stapleton said.

“This presents a real challenge for the Secretary of State for Transport.

“Vehicle reliability has improved in recent years but there is no getting away from the fact that older cars are more likely to develop faults, are more costly to maintain, and are more polluting.

“This represents a risk to road safety, yet another squeeze on motorists’ wallets, and a threat to the UK’s emissions reduction goals.”

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