Halfords is reopening 53 UK stores with “extensive” social distancing measures in place.
The ‘Retail Lite’ reopening follows successful trials at Halfords’ Peterborough and Bristol Cribbs Causeway stores and it will be the first time customers have been allowed in-store since the UK lockdown was put in place on 23rd March.
To date, 335 of the chain’s 446 stores have been operating under a Dark Store model – whereby customers have been unable to browse and instead placed orders with colleagues outside the front of the shop.
The majority of Halfords’ shops will continue to operate as Dark Stores for the time being, with plans to gradually convert them to Retail Lite. The retailer stressed there is no timetable or deadline in place for any given store, and the pace will instead be dictated entirely by the company’s confidence that it can keep its colleagues and customers safe.
The extensive range of social distancing measures that will be in place include:
– Only a safe number of customers allowed in the store at any one time
– Queue marshalling in place outside the store
– Safety notices and floor markings to remind customers about social distancing
– Cleaning station at the front of the store, with supplies of hand sanitiser and wipes
– ‘Sneeze screens’ and visors for colleagues
– Customers will be asked not to handle or try on products
– Customers will be asked to book bike consultation and collection slots online or over the phone in advance, wherever possible
“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.
“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.
“The launch of our new Retail Lite model will assist us in meeting this increased demand, which in turn will allow us to continue helping to keep the UK moving.”
Stores reopening under Retail Lite:
Edinburgh – Straiton
Leicester, St Margarets
Liverpool, Edge Lane