Coronavirus updates: the latest news from West Midlands companies

Halfords has said its trading in the near term is likely to be “severely impacted” by the coronavirus pandemic, despite it keeping a large part of its business open.

The firm has been designated by the Government as a provider of essential services. As it currently stands, Halfords’ Autocentres garages and Mobile vans are open and, within retail, the company says it is working through a plan to provide partial store coverage from later this week. Halfords says it will continue to take orders online on both offering either a home delivery service or Click and Collect once branches are reopened.

Graham Stapleton, chief executive, said: “In such difficult times the health and safety of our colleagues and customers remains our top priority and we continue to take all appropriate action in line with government advice. Halfords has an essential role to play in keeping the country moving, providing vital support to emergency workers, fleet operations, key workers and the general population as they travel for essential supplies and, where required, attend places of work.

“While significant uncertainty exists on the impact of COVID-19, we are taking immediate and significant measures to contain our costs and protect our financial position. We have a strong balance sheet, with significant liquidity headroom and low levels of financial debt.

“This is an unprecedented challenge for all of us, but I am confident that the actions we are taking to successfully navigate the current situation will put the business in a position of strength, enabling us, over the medium term, to refocus on our strategic transformation.”

Flooring firm Victoria says it is “impossible” to give its shareholders any provide any meaningful earnings guidance for its 2021 full-year performance.

Depsite this, the company said that the situation “does not present an existential threat” to its future.

A statement from the company said: “Although the coronavirus is presently dominating the news cycle, we remain mindful of the longer term. Once the storm has passed, people will again want flooring and revenues and profits will recover quickly for businesses in a position to respond to renewed demand.

“There is no doubt in our minds that Victoria will survive the Covid-19-induced disruption we presently face and, whether it lasts three months, six months, or even longer, we do not want to lose that time in executing our business plan.

“Like the many other severe events Victoria has faced in its 125 year history – two world wars, previous viral pandemics, and several financial recessions – this period will pass and although our focus over the last month has been to ensure Victoria survives, we have not lost sight of our mission: To create wealth for shareholders.”

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