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Halfords Autocentres to create 1,000 jobs

Halfords has continued to expand its Autocentres workshop chain across the UK.

The leisure and automotive retailer has grown the network to 261 workshops from the 224 it acquired in its takeover of Nationwide Autocentres in 2010.

Its ambition is to operate 400 centres within five years and grow its share of the automotive aftermarket, particularly with tyre sales and Sunday services.

It said it expects to create 1,000 jobs.

Annual revenue from the network increased by almost 13% to £110.8m in its financial year to the end of March.

However, operating profit fell 5.7% to £6.6m.

Like-for like sales, from sites which have traded for more than a year, were 6.1% ahead on the previous year.

In its retail stores, sales of car maintenance products declined 4.5% although the group reported an increase in customers taking up its on-demand fitting service, with bulb, wipers and battery fitting reaching 26.2% penetration.

Total turnover across the group, which includes its retail stores, fell 0.8% to £863.1m while pre-tax profit dropped 26.6% to £92.2m.

Chief executive David Wild said: “We are evolving our strategy to focus on three strategic pillars so that we become the ‘friend of the motorist’, the ‘best cycle shop in town’ and the ‘starting point for great getaways’.

“In each of these areas we believe we have a unique end-to-end solution and are well positioned to increase our share in significant markets.”

Wild revealed Halfords has conducted a detailed postcode analysis on its customer base, and has used Experian’s mosaic demographic classification process to identify 15 different customer types using its business.

Of these, it is focusing on three key types where it sees it can grow its revenues.

In a pilot, it has cleared the ground floor of its store in Nuneaton, Warwickshire, to create a “fully assisted car maintenance offer”.

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