Halfords is set to reopen 53 stores to welcome back customers as bosses said they have seen a surge in bike sales since the UK Government relaxed lockdown rules and encouraged commuting that avoids public transport.
The stores spread across the country will allow a limited number of shoppers through its doors under a model bosses want to call “Retail Lite”.
Halfords has been allowed to remain open throughout the global pandemic and subsequent lockdown, classed as an “essential” business.
The decision comes a day after the Government said most non-essential retailers could reopen from June 15, although the announcement was overshadowed by the Dominic Cummings scandal engulfing the Prime Minister.
But the company chose to close sites and operate an employee-only model where customers could make purchases from outside or online, meaning of 335 of Halfords’ 446 retail stores have been run this way since lockdown.
Halfords said: “However, 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.”
New rules include reduced customers, queuing marshals, safety notices and floor markings, sneeze screen visors for staff and instructions to customers not to handle or try on products.
Chief executive Graham Stapleton said: “There has been a big surge in demand for our bike products and services as people have taken to cycling during the lockdown, both for commuting and for fun.
“We are also anticipating a similar level of demand for our motoring products and services in the coming days, as people begin to use vehicles again that in some cases will have been off the road for many weeks.”
In addition to its retail stores, Halfords currently has 346 of its 373 garages and 77 vans operating under a contactless model.
Edinburgh – Straiton
Leicester, St Margarets
Liverpool, Edge Lane