Halfords to expand Mobile Expert motoring service

Bike and auto parts retailer Halfords said today (1 October) it is looking to recruit hundreds of technicians to support its expanding autocentres business.

Like-for-like sales in its Autocentres arm were up by 18% in the five-week period to 25 September and the motoring category in Halfords’ retail operation grew by 7.5% during that time. Autocentres sales were actually up by 64% when recent acquisitions were taken into account.

Halfords said the improvement in its motoring business has been supported by “exceptional demand for our growing Mobile Expert proposition, driven by customers seeking greater convenience and safety from our fleet of vans”.

Launched in 2017, the Mobile Expert service brings Halfords’ range of motoring services directly to motorists who need them – to their homes or workplace, for example. Services include battery replacement, wiper blade fitting, and full oil changes, which consumers can book online.

“With the substantial growth we have seen in our motoring services business across both retail and Autocentres, we have launched a national campaign to recruit hundreds of skilled technicians,” Halfords said.

The commitment to grow this part of the busines came as Halfords said first-half profit before tax is now expected to be in excess of £55 million, a revision upwards from previous predictions.

The retailer said the positive trading was as a result of continued momentum in cycling and motoring products and services, following on from a strong 20-week period to 8 September, as previously reported.

“Despite the peak cycling and staycation season coming to an end, this positive momentum has continued, such that group LFL growth in the five weeks to 25 September 2020 was up by 22%,” it stated.

“Cycling has continued to perform well, up by 46% LFL in the five-week period, reflecting the strength of our unique proposition and continual improvement in supply to meet unprecedented levels of demand.”

Despite revising profit expectations, Halfords said it remained cautious in its outlook for the second half of its financial year, citing uncertainty caused by potential second waves of Covid-19, the economic impact of an end to the furlough scheme, and the outcome of Brexit negotiations.

Halfords’ interim results are scheduled to be published on 18 November 2020.