Halfords more than doubled spending on its store IT systems in the first half of the year, investing £4.1m in the six months to 28 September, up from £1.9m in the same period last year.
The investment accounted for nearly a third of the group’s entire capital expenditure for the period of £13.8m, and reflected the auto and cycle retailer’s continued roll-out of electronic point-of-sale and stock management systems, which have enabled it to improve its management of stock levels.
The firm, which reported operating profits up 8.5% to £52.6m for the period, is engaged in expanding its retail outlets and seeking greater supply chain efficiencies. It opened 10 new stores in the period to give its 433 stores in total.
The retailer is now about 18 months into a five-year £5.5m contract with BT Expedite that includes integrating Epos data and stock information with BT Expedite’s Connected Retail Store software for better stock management and customer ordering.
Halfords also recently implemented a new e-commerce fulfilment system to support its website, and reported that its online performance was continuing to improve, “with strong growth in website visitors, conversions and sales.”
It said it was continuing to invest in its multi-channel offering, and had made improvements to website navigation as well as being close to introducing a ‘reserve-online, collect instore’ service.
Halfords has been using SAP for enterprise resource planning for the past two years and recently implemented a warehouse management system that integrates with SAP.