We work with a number of key partners both inside and outside our business. Our Apollo, Carrera and Boardman ranges are designed in-house and manufactured in factories in the Far East. Our Hong Kong office organises and manages the production lead times and arranges shipments to the UK.
Our store colleagues are very important to us in delivering the customer service that we aspire to. Our 3-Gears training programme has been introduced to ensure that consistent product knowledge and service is delivered to our customers across all our stores. See Getting into Gear | Service Revolution for more details.
IT systems are very important to us, both in store and in the Support Centre and parts are in need of upgrading. During the year we have begun the upgrade of our core SAP operating platform and improved the speed of the PEDs used in-store. Read full details.
We have a number of key brands in both the Auto and Cycling categories, across car parts, in-car technology, child seats, cycling, roof boxes, outdoor leisure and camping equipment and these are sold across our 465 nationwide stores. Our 303 autocentres offer a full service, maintenance and repair service across all car marques. Within these establishments our c.12,000 colleagues are a major key resource as it is they that are face-to-face with our customers on a daily basis. See Getting into Gear | Service Revolution and Getting into Gear | Stores Fit to Shop for more information.
Halfords is a cash generative business having generated £39.5m of free cashflow in the year (see Shareholder KPIs and Chief Financial Officer's Report) and is well supported by its banking syndicate having renegotiated a new facility in September 2013 (See Chief Financial Officer's Report).
Our key activities are all designed to help and inspire our customers with their life on the move through our Getting into Gear strategy. As a retailer Halfords makes a profit from the combination of low cost sourcing and supply chain coupled with excellent marketing skills and a national store network, leveraging these skills in the car service sector by running an efficient service offer and profits from scale and efficiency. Halfords provides services cheaper than most franchised garages and more comprehensively than many independent garages.
Our operations are designed to be best in class so that we can leverage our market leading positions through our supply chain. We source direct from suppliers around the world who manufacture products to our designs and rigid specifications. Our distribution team use their specialist knowledge to group and ship products in line with the sales plan of our retail operation and the market demands. Our internal operations draw from the best industry practice.
Halfords is a great business – it's the nation's leading cycle retailer and the "go to" destination for motorists. Our products and services are as relevant to today's customers as they were when we started out over 100 years ago. Customers' needs aren't changing but their expectations. We are setting out to grow our business by attracting more customers; encouraging them to buy more products and/or services; and persuading them to visit our stores and autocentres more often. To do this we make four promises; Halfords offers:
- Prices you can trust
- Quality you can trust
- Range you can rely on
- Service that delights
We want our customers to have confidence in our prices. We want them to feel they are getting value for money. We shall be introducing new impulse promotions and 'bundled' prices - rather than selling a product then the fitting we want to introduce prices with no hidden costs. We have already introduced 'rounded' prices doing away with the 99p as we feel customers are cynical of this type of pricing. It is very important to our growth plans that we offer prices our customers trust.
Product quality is another important aspect of 'value for money'. In listening to our customers we have made changes to our products. We want customers to have confidence that their purchases will last. During the year we have made our Quality Guarantee on all Halfords Advanced socket sets, a no quibble one. We used to exempt moving parts but having listened to the customer, it is really important to be able to offer a total lifetime guarantee. We want customers to trust our quality.
Our range of products is very important to us. We have a strong range and category management, ensuring that Halfords remains a natural destination for our customers. These ranges and categories contribute to the brand that is Halfords and we must continue to bring products to our customers that they can rely on. See Getting into Gear | the 'H' Factor for our Apollo story.
In order to improve service to our customers we have focused on four clear objectives. To make Halfords a great place to work; to provide stores that we are proud of; to have services that make us the best and to delight every customer. See Getting into Gear | Service Revolution for more details.
We want to create a compelling shopping experience that excites customers, improves their knowledge of products and services and their emotional engagement with our brand.
We have 465 retail stores and 303 autocentres in which to engage with customers face-to-face and building our digital proposition is also a key route to driving future topline growth and maintaining our ongoing relevance.
Our ambition is to create a service-led digital proposition. Of all retailers, Halfords has the opportunity to be truly multichannel – combining the best of the web with friendly expertise in store.
Customers are our life-blood. Fundamental to a profitable and sustainable sales growth is our ability to offer a friendly-expertise based service, where customers have a better experience at Halfords than they would at other non-service based retailers and spend more with us and recommend us to their friends. Our Service Revolution will ensure customers are served by colleagues who are enthusiastic about their role at Halfords and the products and services we offer.
Supporting drivers of every car
Through our core categories of Car Maintenance, Car Enhancement and Car Servicing we provide services and expertise to take the hassle out of motoring. See Markets for more information.
Inspiring cyclists of every age
Halfords is the largest player in the cycling market, reflecting its scale positioning and also the successful extension of its ranges into the premium segment of the cycle market in recent years. See Markets for more information.
Equipping families for their leisure time
This third category pillar occupies the smallest element of Halfords Retail sales. It is spread across several fragmented markets, which can be grouped under the umbrella of camping and outdoor leisure. See Markets for more information.