Huge demand surrounding Apple's iPods has helped UK cyclists' and motorists' retailer Halfords achieve £40 million profit.

The company also confirmed plans to stock car integration kits for iPods in the run-up to Christmas.

With its high street shops dotted across the UK, Halfords was thought to be exposed to the weak high street sales affecting other retailers.

Instead, demand for iPods and car integration kits for them helped propel a 20 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £40 million in the six months until September. Underlying sales have grown by 5 per cent, the company revealed yesterday.

Discussing its reasons to produce a car integration kit, the company said: "The market for downloading music from the Internet into MP3 hardware has been growing significantly and the company has identified an opportunity to supply a solution to the challenge of playing MP3 downloads with quality and safety in-car.

"Consequently, from November onwards, Halfords will be marketing a new range of audio systems, which can connect with MP3 players, such as the iPod, for in-car use. We will also be introducing a fully-fitted iPod connectivity solution to enable the use of these devices with existing in-car audio units."

The company is offering car integration kits from Pioneer, Kenwood, Alpine and Dension.