Halfords shops for new digital director at Holland & Barrett

Halfords has appointed Holland & Barrett group omnichannel director Emma Mead as its new digital director.

Mead joined the bikes and car parts retailer last week after almost four years at Holland & Barrett, where she began as director of eCommerce. Essential Retail understands the new recruit will work alongside current digital director Matthew Gratze, before he departs to focus on new projects in October.

The move comes at a time of significant change for the eCommerce function at Halfords, which is migrating from IBM to Salesforce Commerce Cloud technology. Working alongside systems integrator Astound Commerce, Halfords is planning a mid-October launch for the new site which will bring together the Halfords retail and Autocentres businesses on one platform.

Gratze arrived at Halfords in 2017 from Mothercare, where he was director of global eCommerce. He was brought in to drive eCommerce penetration and put the foundations in place for a more modern online offering at the business.

Having achieved that function he now hands over the reins for Mead to lead the next stage of development.

Group online sales at Halfords were up by 9.5% the full year to 29 March, with around 20% of total sales now being delivered online. Halfords supports a large number of multichannel journeys, too, with around 83% of Halfords.com online orders reportedly collected in a store.

In a preliminary results announcement in May, Halfords said the number of customers shopping across the group has increased by 7.2% year-on-year, which although accelerated by the “Free MOT” promotion in 2018 justifies the move to put retail and car services on one digital platform.

Halfords CFO Loraine Woodhouse referenced the online merger of retail and auto services earlier this year, describing the move which entailed an asset write-off of around £5 million as “strategically important” for the business.