Covid-19: Halfords expands online business during pandemic

Halfords has reported strong growth in its online business during the Covid-19 pandemic, as it adapted to having its store operations severely curtailed over this period. The group revealed eCommerce revenue went up by 200% in the 13 weeks to 3 July 2020, enabled by investment in its new web platform “which dealt well with the unprecedented shift to online ordering during the Covid-19 lockdown”. This has helped enable overall sales for this quarter to be better than anticipated at the start of the pandemic, falling by 2.3%.

Preliminary results for the 53 weeks up to 3 April 2020 also demonstrated how Halfords had focused on developing its eCommerce capacity prior to Covid-19, with online sales surging 17%, making up 24% of the group’s total revenue for this period.

Overall revenue for the 53 weeks (FY20) fell 2.7%, with pre-tax profit falling 4.9%. Halfords said that this was ahead of guidance despite the late impact of Covid-19.

In May, the brand noted that cycling products have proven particularly popular since lockdown, with consumers seeing this as an alternative means of travel, as well as for health and leisure.

"This has been another year of good progress against the backdrop of a retail market that was challenging even before the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic. We are particularly pleased to have delivered strong revenue growth in group services (+9%), online (+17%) and B2B (+25%), which are our main areas of strategic focus,” commented Graham Stapleton, CEO, Halfords.

“The start of the current financial year has of course been dominated by the impact of Covid-19, and our status as an essential retailer was a clear endorsement of the wider role that Halfords has to play in keeping the UK moving. Having responded quickly and decisively to cater for the surge in popularity of cycling during lockdown, we are now seeing increased demand for motoring services and products as people start using their cars regularly again having not done so for the last few months.”