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Halfords says 12% of sales made online – with 90% of those collected in store

Halfords reports boost to online sales following acquisitions

Halfords this week said 12% of its retail sales were made online in its last financial year. During the year 90% of online orders were picked up in store, using click and collect services: something that Halfords said highlighted the importance of its store network to its customer service.

The update came as Halfords, which sells automotive-to-cycling equipment through its retail arm while operating a network of autocentres, reported revenues of £1.02bn in the year to April 1, 1.5% up on the same time last year. Retail sales of £868.5m were 1.3% up on last time, including a 1.4% rise in online sales. At the same time autocentre revenues of £153.0m were up by 2.5%. Profits before tax and exceptional items came in at £81.5m, up by 0.5% from £84.1m last time. One-off-costs related to organisational restructuring pushed bottom line pre-tax profits to £79.8m, 1.2% down on last time.

The company restated its strategy of investing in customer data and insight, focusing on customer service and creating a seamless customer experience across online and the store.

In customer data, it said it was working towards a complete single view of the customer, to be created by joining up customer databases across its business. At the same time, it is taking a more personalised approach to emails that will see, for example, cycle buyers reminded to come and have a free six-week bike check. Online purchases are followed up with an email recommending six further products, driven by a bespoke recommendation engine. The company said it will develop more similar approaches in the months to come.

Halfords also said the last year had seen it expand its range, both in store and online, where it is introducing more gifts and toys. Currently it sells around 9,000 products in its stores, while its online range numbers in the region of 165,000 items. Meanwhile, in the area of the seamless shopping service, it has improved its fulfilment promise, adding new specific delivery time slots and enabling later ordering for timed deliveries, and is now creating a store of the future.

A transactional website will be launched for its Cycle Republic brand in the near future, while contactless payments will be introduced to stores.

Chief executive Jill McDonald welcomed a “solid performance”. She said: “The Moving Up a Gear strategy aimed at driving sustainable long-term growth is developing well, including a step change in customer data, the introduction of new services, product innovation and exciting collaborations.”

Halfords, a Leading retailer in IRUK Top500 research, currently sells through 462 Halfords stores and 10 Cycle Republic Stores in the UK and Republic of Ireland, as well as online at halfords.com and, as of May 2016, at tredz.co.uk and wheelies.co.uk. It employs about 11,000 people.

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