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Halfords: on the importance of stores and services in a multichannel age

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Halfords today emphasised the importance of its store network and services to customers who came into shops to pick up more than 85% of their online orders during its latest financial year.

“This high proportion continues to differentiate us from other retailers,” Halfords Group said in full-year results today. “Instead of cannibalising our bricks and mortar operation, online sales have driven store footfall; both our online and store sales were in growth for the year.”

Halfords, a Leading retailer in IRUK Top500 research, saw group revenue grow by 3.7% to £1.1bn in the year to March 30, with retail sales 4.1% ahead at £977.2m. On a like-for-like basis, which strips out store – or business – openings and closures, group revenue was 2% ahead while retail sales were 2.3% ahead. Pre-tax profits came in at £71.6m (-5%) before one-off costs, and at £67.1m (-6%) after one-off costs. Halfords said the fall in profits came as the retail absorbed £25m in the extra cost of imports as a result of the continuing weakness of the pound against the US dollar. Group online sales rose by 11.8%, while service-related retail sales were 14.2% ahead. Retail online sales were 6% ahead LFL.

Chief executive Graham Stapleton, who joined Halfords four months ago, said performance was pleasing. “Halfords is a good business with a great future,” he said. “By focusing more on our specialisms and our services, ensuring that we always provide best value to our customers and presenting a more seamless and inspirational omnichannel experience, there is a really exciting future of growth ahead of us. I look forward to presenting our longer-term plans in September. 

Here’s what else the retailer said about its multichannel strategy.

The Customer

Halfords says it knows its customers better since it now has a single view of its customers in both its retail and autocentres businesses. It can now match 59% of transactions to retail customers – up from 3% in November 2015 – and 72% of autocentre customers.

In-store services

The retailer now has more than 70 in-store services in its retail business, while retail sales related to these services have grown by 46% over the last three years.


Halfords says it now has a more resilient IT infrastructure following several years of under-investment. It launched a delivery-to-store model in 2015 and has since launched a single view of stock and takes a more agile approach to website development.

Image courtesy of Halfords

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