Halfords CEO Graham Stapleton issues the following update to customers, following criticism from some that the bike stores are remaining open.
I am sure you are extremely concerned about the current crisis, which is why I am writing to let you know how we are responding and the actions we are taking to keep our colleagues and customers safe.
On Monday night the Prime Minister announced new social distancing measures which will have a profound impact on our way of life over the next few weeks, and maybe longer.
Following the announcement, the Government published a list of retailers that are considered essential. That list includes Garage services and Bicycle shops.
Our Halfords stores, Halfords Autocentres and McConechy’s, plus our mobile services, are therefore considered essential businesses in supporting the public during this time. In this note I will address why we have chosen to support the essential status and, importantly, set out the steps we are taking to provide our services in the safest way possible. As you’ll see, it’s anything but business as usual.
Decisions that would normally take months have had to be made in a matter of hours. Throughout this process our guiding principle has been to do what is right – right for our colleagues, right for our customers, and right for society.
I am confident that the decisions we have taken in the past 24 hours and the measures we are putting in place today will help support essential mobility whilst protecting the safety and wellbeing of our customers and colleagues.
How can Halfords keep Britain moving in a time of crisis?
Halfords is much more than a network of stores and garages. Each month our trained experts carry out over 600,000 essential services for our customers. Our services proposition means we keep thousands of motorists and cyclists on the move every week, from performing MOTs, servicing and tyre replacements in our garages, to fitting batteries and repairing windscreen chips, carrying out cycling repairs and services in our shops, to our mobile fleet for services.
In motoring alone, each month we carry out more than 250,000 essential fits and repairs in our stores and over 100,000 jobs in our garages. We are proud to be the UK’s largest motoring services provider and are trusted by millions of customers every year to play a critical role in keeping Britain’s vehicles on the road and safe to drive.
We may be using our vehicles less often right now, but the journeys we do make really count. They get nurses to hospitals, volunteers to the pharmacy, and parents to the supermarket. Our stores and garages help keep the UK’s civil and military forces, utility providers, ambulances and grocery retailers on the move and we fix the cars that companies like the AA can’t repair at the roadside. We provide a fleet of Mobile Expert and Tyres on The Drive mobile vans too, where technicians conveniently carry out repairs and fittings on customers drives at their homes or places or work.
Equally we’re here to support the nation’s cyclists, with advice, servicing and parts. Many key workers rely on their bikes to get to work, whilst commuters who can’t work from home are switching in increasing numbers from public transport to bicycles. Importantly in these times we’re also here to help adults and children get the exercise they need on two wheels, in line with Government guidance.
We’re going further in order to play our part in confronting the current crisis:
- We are offering a free ten-point car health check (worth £15) for NHS frontline staff so that their vehicles remain in good working order
- NHS and emergency workers can also receive a free Bronze Bike Service (worth £30); this covers gears, drivetrain and brakes
- NHS & emergency workers will also get 10% off any replacement tyre in our garages or from our mobile home services
How are we keeping customers and colleagues safe?
It goes without saying that we are taking care to ensure that vulnerable colleagues who should not be working at the present time are able to stay at home.
As a consequence of this crisis however, it’s important to share how we’re fundamentally changing the way our stores operate.
To keep our colleagues and customers safe, we will be offering a “Drive in, fit and repair” proposition for essential motoring and cycling services alongside a “Drive in pick or collect point for products”. Essentially, we won’t be inviting customers into our stores, but providing services and collection from the front of store, all within the social distancing rules.
We will no longer be accepting cash payments and customers won’t be asked to sign refund paperwork. And, as you’d expect, we’ll be enforcing a strict two metre rule and ensuring that our colleagues have the cleaning materials to support hygiene guidelines. These are just some of the steps we are taking to keep colleagues and customers safe.
I give you my personal guarantee that we will only open stores and garages, and operate our mobile services, where we are able to implement these measures fully. We are doing all we can to be accessible to those who need us most at this time.
When can I visit Halfords again?
Our intention is that many of our stores will start to serve customers again towards the end of the week, and these stores will all be implementing the new measures described above.
Most Halfords Autocentres and McConechy’s will stay open for the rest of this week, and we will maintain a nationwide service from next week. Our mobile fleet will continue to serve customers on their drives and, of course, we’re open 24/7 online at www.halfords.com.
I am really proud of my colleagues and how they have adapted so quickly in these incredibly difficult times. I give you my personal commitment that we will only stay open as long as we can keep you and our colleagues safe. We have been serving our loyal customers for 128 years. Now, more than ever, you can rely on Halfords to keep Britain moving.
I wish you all a safe journey through these troubled times.