Car accessory and cycling supermarket chain Halfords has reported a strong quarter ending 27 June 2008, with group sales increasing by 1.7 per cent when compared to the same period last year.

This year’s early Easter fell outside of the second quarter, and adjusting the figures to represent this, Halfords saw sales growth of three per cent. As a result, the company said in its interim management report that it expects its gross margin to be in line with their expectations.

“This is an encouraging start to the financial year,” said Nick Wharton and Paul McClenaghan, the acting joint directors of the retailer. “Halfords continues to progress its growth strategy.” David Wild, takes over as chief executive in August. Wild has recently been responsible for taking Tesco into Eastern Europe, a market Halfords is keen to tap.

Earlier this year Halfords completed a five year refresh of its IT for back office, financial and in store systems. IBM and SAP platforms have been integrated to replace an in-house system. Hand held terminals have also been introduced to improve stock management.

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