Halfords has announced it is reopening 53 of its stores across the country with extensive social distancing measures in place, using an operating model that has been called ‘Retail Lite’.
The re-openings follow successful trials at its Peterborough and Bristol Cribbs Causeway stores and will be the first time that customers have been allowed instore since the lockdown was put in place in the UK.
Having been granted ‘essential retailer’ status, 335 of Halfords’ 446 retail stores have until now been operating under a Dark Store model during the lockdown. This means that customers have been unable to browse and instead have been placing orders with Halfords colleagues outside the front of the store.
While the majority of Halfords’ stores will continue to operate as Dark Stores for the time being, there are plans to gradually convert and reopen them under the new “Retail Lite” model. However, the firm has stated that there is no timetable or deadline in place for doing so and the pace will instead be dictated entirely by the ‘company’s confidence that it can keep its colleagues and customers safe’.
“We are pleased to be in a position to start letting our customers back into our stores”, said Graham Stapleton, CEO of Halfords. “However, we are going to be reopening them to our customers gradually and cautiously in order to be absolutely certain that our colleagues and customers have a safe environment in which to work and shop”.
Halfords reported a sharp rise in the number of customers wanting bikes and related products since lockdown began.