Car parts and bicycles chain Halfords has assured on profit targets despite suffering a sales slowdown in the past three months.
The Stratford-upon-Avon based group, which has 455 stores, saw like-for-like sales slip 1.1% in the 13 weeks to September 26, but said the firm was proving "robust" in the tough climate.
Its cycling business maintained growth despite poor summer weather, and its car maintenance business - seen as a good bet as shoppers cut back spending elsewhere to keep their cars on the road - "performed strongly".
Chief executive David Wild said first half profits would be in line with expectations, adding: "I remain encouraged by our prospects for the remainder of the year."
Halfords has more than 10,500 staff, sells over 10,000 different product lines, ranging from car parts and cycles through to child seats and outdoor leisure and camping equipment.
It also owns the Bikehut chain - boasting the Apollo and Carrera brands - and added the Boardman premium cycle range this year.
Over the first half as a whole, like-for-like sales were down 0.5%, adjusted for the absence of an Easter trading boost during the period.
But Halfords' tight focus on costs will lead to better than expected gross margins, the firm added.
Shares in the group rose more than 5% following the trading update. The firm's defensive qualities have largely cushioned its share price so far, with Halfords down 10% since the beginning of 2008 compared to heavier falls among other retailers.
Seymour Pierce retail analyst Freddie George said: "The company is still benefiting from people choosing to maintain their old cars rather than purchase a new one but not surprisingly has seen some slowdown in its leisure category."
Mr George said he would not be lowering profit forecasts of around £94.5 million over the full year.
"The business is partly counter cyclical and the company is approaching easier comparatives in the third quarter. Management is rightly focused on at least maintaining gross margins and cost control," he added.