Halfords chief operating officer Rob Keates is set to depart after four years at the motor specialist, Retail Week can reveal.


It is unclear whether Rob Keates’ departure is part of a wider reshuffling after Halfords issued a profit warning earlier this year

Keates joined the business in 2020 as the chief transformation officer before being promoted to his present role as chief operating officer in 2022.

Retail Week understands Keates has stepped down from his role after nearly four years. As COO, he oversaw the creation of the group’s contact centre and played a key part in Halford’s garage services transformation programme.

It remains unclear as to who will take over his position, or if this is part of a wider reshuffling at Halfords after the retailer issued a profit warning earlier this year.

Halfords cut its full-year profit guidance from between £48m and £53m to between £35m and £40m as it cautioned that conditions would not change in the remainder of its financial year, which runs to the end of March and includes the peak Easter cycling period.

It claimed that its cycling and retail motoring businesses “have been impacted by a combination of continued weak customer confidence and unusually mild and very wet weather, which affected footfall into stores and sales of categories such as winter and car cleaning products”.

Volume in Halfords’ retail motoring market fell 5.1 percentage points on a year-on-year basis in January, while cycling volume was down eight points and consumer tyres declined 4.3 points.

At the time the retailer said: “While we have reduced our profit guidance as a result of very challenging and exceptional short-term market conditions, we remain confident in our strategy and longer-term growth prospects. When our core markets recover, the platform we have built leaves us exceptionally well-placed to succeed.”