Halfords is a widely known UK retailer which operates in cycling, car maintenance and related accessories. Recent growth has been driven by services, which now account for nearly 50% of total sales, including the Autocentres business which the group has been scaling up through acquisitions. 

The retailer trades through just under 400 eponymous stores and also operates two performance cycling stores trading as Tredz and Giant. 

In-store ‘wefit’ cars and ‘werepair’ cycles advice and fitting services are an important differentiator for the increasingly service-led retailer. The company operates in-garage servicing and auto repair through its 650-plus Autocentres business, which has been strengthened through recent acquisitions including National Tyres, Universal Tyres and Iverson Tyres, as well as online business Tyres on the Drive. 

The business is being driven forward under chief executive Graham Stapleton and his ‘to inspire and support a lifetime of motoring and cycling’ strategy.

As well as embarking on a store transformation programme, the retailer has launched a new group web platform giving customers access to an integrated services offer across mobile, stores and autocentres. 

Halfords group sales rose 15.3% to £1.59bn in the year to end-March 2023 (FY2022) as a 66.8% surge in revenues across the enlarged Autocentres division to £613.9m was offset by a 2.2% drop in retail sales to £979.6m. The decline in retail sales reflected 3.6% growth in motoring sales offset by an 11.2% drop in cycling sales as demand for the category continued to normalise in the wake of the pandemic. Profits came under pressure from economic headwinds and ongoing investment in the business, with statutory pre-tax profit margins reduced to 2.7% in FY2022, down from 7.0% the year before.

Innovation rating: 3

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