Halfords today reported growing sales and profits as its three-year transformation plan aimed at moving into a digital future started to bear fruit.
The car maintenance to cycle retailer reported revenue up by 6.2% at £490.6m in the six months to September 28, with retail revenue up by 7.7% at £424.0m and autocentres down by 2.1% to £66.6m. Pre-tax profits before non-recurring items grew by 6.4% to £44.6m.
Chief executive Matt Davies said: “These are early days in our three-year transformation plan but it is encouraging to see the retail business deliver a strong first-half performance.”
He said the company had made a good start on its Getting into Gear retail transformation programme, whose strategy includes delivering 21st century infrastructure, underpinning both a digital retail offering and “stores fit to shop”.
During the half year online retail revenues grew by 16.9% and represented 11.5% of total retail sales, up from 10.5% in the same period last year. Halfords pointed to particular progress in the cycling sector, which accounts for more than half of its online retail sales. A “consistent” 88% of online orders were collected in store.
Online improvements included redesigning of the website, an improved checkout “designed to reduce the risk of abandoned baskets”. Customers now also pay for Click and Collect transactions in store. How to videos have been added to the site, and there has been an emphasis on adding “more useful information”. “Significantly more help and advice is now contained online,” said Davies, “enhancing Halfords’ specialist credentials.”