Halfords to re-open stores after being designated a provider of essential services
Following its designation by the government as a provider of essential services, Halfords has said it is working to have many of its stores open for business by the end of the week.
However, the car parts and cycle retailer is introducing a range of measures to keep customers and staff safe throughout the coronavirus crisis.
Customers will not be allowed inside Halfords shops but instead will buy their shopping from a desk at store entrances. In addition, the retailer will not be accepting cash payments for the time being.
Furthermore, some non-essential fitting services that take place inside the vehicle have been suspended while assisted sales including bike purchases, collections and repairs can only be carried out via a booked appointment.
Halfords is also encouraging customers to use its home delivery and click and collect services.
Additional measures are being introduced at Halfords autocentres.
The retailer has also given an update on recent trading which has been in line with expectations. Halfords said sales have been “very strong” in the last couple of weeks but that the level of annual profit will be dependent on its sales performance in the final two weeks of the financial year.
Given the lockdown measures introduced in recent days, the retailer believes sales are likely to drop sharply and that full year underlying pre-tax profit could be at the lower end of, or slightly below, the current guidance range of £50 million and £55 million.
Graham Stapleton, Halfords chief executive, said: “While significant uncertainty exists on the impact of Covid-19, we are taking immediate and significant measures to contain our costs and protect our financial position. We have a strong balance sheet, with significant liquidity headroom and low levels of financial debt.
“This is an unprecedented challenge for all of us, but I am confident that the actions we are taking to successfully navigate the current situation will put the business in a position of strength, enabling us, over the medium term, to refocus on our strategic transformation.”
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