Business

Christmas sales boost drives up Halfords shares

Halfords store Image copyright Halfords

Shares in Halfords jumped after the bike and car parts retailer reported a "strong sales performance" for the crucial Christmas period.

The FTSE 250 firm said like-for-like sales rose 5.9% in the three months to 15 January, sending its shares up 9%.

Halfords also said it had paid £8m for a minority stake in mobile tyre-fitting business TyresOnTheDrive.com.

On the wider market, the benchmark FTSE 100 index closed down 39.17 points at 7208.44.

Royal Mail was the biggest faller on the index after it delivered a disappointing trading update.

Shares in the company dropped 5.99% to 422.50p after it reported a fall in the number of letters delivered.

In the nine months to 25 December, the volume of letters delivered fell 6% while letter revenues were down 5%.

"We are seeing the impact of overall business uncertainty in the UK on letter volumes, in particular advertising and business letters," it said.

However, its parcels business saw revenues rise by 3% with the number of parcels delivered 2% higher.

Back in the FTSE 250, shares in Moneysupermarket.com rose 6.77% after it said full-year results were set to beat expectations, with operating profits up 8%.

However, the news from Pets at Home was not so encouraging. Its shares fell 8.62% after it reported "subdued trading" at its merchandise division, with like-for-like sales at the unit down 0.5%.

On the currency markets, the pound rose 0.6% against the dollar to $1.2335 and was 0.32% higher against the euro at 1.1569 euros.