Halfords turns in double-digit online growth following website relaunch

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Halfords today reported double-digit growth online following the relaunch of Halfords.com.

The car and bike equipment multichannel retailer said online sales were up by 13.7%, compared to the same time last year in the first half of its financial year. They represented 12.2% of total retail sales. Conversion rates, it said, had risen by 19% after the first phase of the dotcom launch, last November. Some 59% of online sales were of cycling equipment, and 92% of online orders were collected in store through click and collect. At the same time, in-store income rose by 9.4% to £11.4m, mostly coming from the fitting and cycle repair services.

The update came as Halfords reported total sales of £524.1m in the 26 weeks to September 26, 6.8% up on the same time last year. Retail sales of £451.9m were 6.6% ahead, while its autocentres business turned in sales, at £72.2m, up by 8.4% on last time. Retail like-for-like sales, which strip out the effect of store openings and closures, were 6.8% ahead. Pre-tax profits of £49.6m were 11.2% up on last time.

Cycling sales rose sharply, up by 16% during the period, as a result of good weather, the acquisition of Boardman Bikes and, said Halfords, “our own actions,” which included a Getting into Gear strategy of renewed store formats and delivery to store.

“I look forward to a second half where we will continue to position Halfords to deliver sustainable profit growth,” said chief executive Matt Davies. He added: “Halfords Retail becomes more of an auto, kids-bike and gifting business in the second half of the year and the focus remains on developing our unique service and range advantages.”

Halfords took digital further into stores in the period, with the rollout of tablet computers used by staff to extend the range available in store. Continuing improvement to the website saw mobile and tablet visits to the domain grow by 37%, accounting for 55% of total online sessions, up from 44% last time. Halfords, which employs about 11,000 people, sells 9,000 product lines in store, increasing to about 160,000 online.

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