Motor accessories and cycling specialist Halfords is in the midst of a turnaround under chief executive Matt Davies.

His strategy is based on the foundation stones of improved service, enhanced authority, better stores, systems and infrastructure improvement and building a digital proposition.

Here are six improvements made which have helped deliver better performance reflected in a 6.4% jump in pre-tax profit in its first half and a 6.2% rise in group like-for-likes.

  • Recruiting the right people. Halfords now screens job applicants by phone. Would-be employees are then interviewed at a shop and take part in an “in-store audition” before being hired. There have been 30,000 applicants for 500 vacancies and “the new approach has significantly raised the quality of new hires”.
  • Service has been prioritised. Halfords said: “Customer feedback and mystery shopping results are now core targets for colleagues and store incentives have been simplified to focus solely on sales and feedback from customers.”
  • Stores win extra payroll hours if targets are beaten. Minimum contract hours in-store have been lengthened and “further actions have been taken to support colleagues by changing rotas to better suit their circumstances”.
  • Efficiency has been improved to the benefit of shoppers as well as the retailer. New Chip and PIN pads in 300 stores have saved customers 19 seconds per transaction according to Halfords, which says it now has “one of the fastest transaction times in UK retail”.
  • The online offer has been improved. There has been a focus on basics, such as navigability, enabling a reduction in the number of clicks needed to find a product, and there are now only four ‘verticals’ on the home page – cycling, motoring, sat nav and audio and camping and touring.
  • Halfords has enhanced advice and service online. The retailer has created 50 YouTube ‘how to’ videos covering everything from mending punctures to choosing a bike.

To see Halfords’ company profile visit