Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

High Street Fortunes Split as Weakened Pound Plays Havoc

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

High Street Fortunes Split as Weakened Pound Plays Havoc

Article excerpt

Byline: Clare Hutchison

A TALE of contrasting fortunes on British High Streets emerged today as the pound's plunge pummelled Halfords' first-half profits but boosted fashion chain SuperGroup.

Halfords reported a more-than-12% drop in underlying pre-tax profit to PS40.8 million in the six months to September 30, sending its shares 12.6p lower to 331.1p.

Boss Jill McDonald said the pound's fall since the Brexit vote, along with heavier promotions and investment in training, hit margins.

Currency will be a "significant" risk but suppliers are "helping out" and raising prices would be a last resort, McDonald added. Brexit may also provide a boost if more people choose a "staycation" and pick up camping supplies or roof racks from Halfords. Same-store sales rose 2.2%, with cycling up 4.6%, and Halfords said it would meet full-year profit forecasts.

Peel Hunt analysts were unconvinced, however, saying: "Halfords is not sufficiently innovative or proactive and is allowing the situation where it is not master of its own destiny to persist. …

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