September 5, 2017 / 6:59 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Britain's Halfords maintains profit outlook after "staycation summer"

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LONDON, Sept 5 (Reuters) - British bicycles and car part retailer Halfords maintained its full year profit guidance on Tuesday after summer sales were boosted by more Britons opting to holiday at home due to the weaker pound.

The firm reported retail like-for-like sales growth of 3.5 percent in the 20 weeks to August 18, with a strong performance in camping, roof boxes and cycle carriers complementing growth in service-related sales.

“I am pleased with the trading performance over the first 20 weeks of the year in both motoring and cycling. A combination of good planning and execution meant that we optimised sales from the staycation summer,” said Chief Executive Jill McDonald.

Total group sales growth was 4.8 percent, indicating the firm has so far shrugged off a squeeze on consumer spending.

The trading update is the last to be presided over by McDonald. She resigned in May to take up a position leading Marks & Spencer’s clothing and homewares business and will leave Halfords in October.

The statement provided no update on her successor.

Analysts are on average forecasting a pretax profit of 74 million pounds for Halfords’ 2017-18 year, according to Reuters data, down from 75.4 million pounds in 2016-17.

Halfords said it still expects a cost hit of about 25 million pounds in 2017-18 from the depreciation of sterling, with 15 million pounds relating to the first half.

“Our foreign exchange mitigation plans are working in line with expectations and we are well prepared for the peak trading period through winter,” McDonald said.

Shares in Halfords, down 11 percent so far this year, closed Monday at 315.4 pence, valuing the business at 629 million pounds ($813 million). ($1 = 0.7733 pounds) (Reporting by Emma Rumney, editing by James Davey)

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