LONDON -- Shares in Halfords (LSE:HFD) were up 5.10 pence, or 1.6%, at the time of writing this morning following the announcement of the company's third-quarter and year-to-date trading update.
The U.K.'s leading retailer of automotive, leisure, and cycling products saw total group revenue lift 1.6% in Q3, supported by a 12.4% revenue increase in its Autocentres division. Retail, although still positive, fared less well, with a 0.1% rise in revenue.
In terms of like-for-like revenue across the 15 weeks to Jan. 11, 2013, comprising the third quarter, the group reported a 1% increase, with Autocentres contributing a 5.6% jump. Again, the retail division's performance was marginal, with a 0.4% rise -- although car maintenance was up 6.1%, cycling (-1.6%), car enhancement (-1%), and travel solutions (-8.2%) all fell.
Management explained the dips as follows:
- Cycling: an initially weak market for Older-Kids' and Adult-Mainstream Cycles that improved in the final weeks of the period, partially offset by a strong increase in Premium Cycle and Cycle Repairs sales;
- Car Maintenance: a strong performance with parts sales up 13.2% and 3Bs fitting penetration, via "wefit," up 11% pts to a record 39.5%. Mild and wet-weather conditions affected the demand for winter products;
- Car Enhancement: improved marketing and stronger range execution supported growth in both Audio and Sat-Nav;
- Travel Solutions: reduced sales of Child Car Seats, given our focus on cash returns.
In the 41 weeks that comprise the year to date, Halfords reported a rise in group total revenue of 0.8%, again with Autocentres performing strongly with a 15.4% leap. However, it was announced that retail was down 1.2% -- and similar patterns were seen in the year-to-date like-for-like revenues. Group was up 0.3%, helped by a 8.9% boost from the Autocentres division, but retail dropped 0.9% (cycling +0.7%, car maintenance +3.6%, car enhancement -4.3%, travel solutions -7.1%).
Elsewhere in the company, it's business as normal -- Halfords' financial position remains sound with "no material change," expectations are for the short-term trading conditions to continue, while the group pre-tax profit forecast has been modestly upgraded to prior assumptions, lifting marginally to somewhere in the range of 68 million pounds to 72 million pounds.
Halfords remains in a good position financially, then, and well regarded by investors interested in high-yielding companies: with a dividend of 22 pence expected, it offers a yield of over 6%.
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Sam Robson does not own shares in Halfords. The Motley Fool owns shares in Halfords. The Motley Fool recommends Halfords Group. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.