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Coronavirus: Halfords has ‘essential role to play’

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Bicycle and automotive portions store Halfords has defended its choice to stay stores open amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Its autocentre garages and cell trucks stay open, with plans for “partial store coverage” throughout its 446 stores.

Boss Graham Stapleton mentioned the chain had “an essential role to play in keeping the country moving”.

Halfords drew complaint after it mentioned it might stay some shops open after being named via the federal government as an “essential provider of services”.

#BoycottHalfords used to be trending on social media on Tuesday. Some Twitter customers cited issues over a loss of coverage for on-site employees.

‘Vital give a boost to’

In a buying and selling replace, the company mentioned: “We are committed to playing our part, but only if we can ensure the health and safety of our colleagues and customers.”

It additionally mentioned it had the “legal flexibility to remain open across the entire business”.

Mr Stapleton added that the chain had an element to play “in providing vital support to emergency workers, fleet operations and the general population as they travel for essential supplies”.

It may also proceed to take orders on-line by means of house supply products and services and click-and-collect as soon as branches have reopened.

Halfords added mentioned it used to be providing all NHS frontline employees a loose 10-point automotive test right through the coronavirus pandemic.

Other bicycle corporations comparable to Brompton Bicycle, a folding motorbike specialist, have lent bicycles to personnel at hospitals in London to assist them get to and from paintings.

Essential outlets

After strict new restrictions have been introduced in via executive previous this week, it issued a listing of “essential retailers”, comparable to Halfords, which can be allowed to keep open. They come with:

Supermarkets and different meals stores Pharmacies Petrol stations Newsagents Bicycle stores Home and {hardware} shops Launderettes and dry cleaners Garages Pet stores Post workplaces Banks

Dusting outdated motorcycles off

Trade trade our bodies had prior to now mentioned that bicycle outlets and service stores had noticed a spike in call for as other people “clean the cobwebs off” their outdated motorcycles in an try to keep away from public shipping right through the pandemic.

Jonathan Harrison of the Association of Cycle Traders informed the BBC that “there had been an uplift in sales across the board, with larger retailers also reporting more ‘entry-level’ bikes going.”

However, he identified that with extra customers staying in due to the brand new executive restrictions, “it’s difficult to know whether or not that trend will continue.”

Halfords mentioned on Wednesday that it anticipated gross sales to fall via about 25% within the new monetary yr, due to the affect of the coronavirus.

For its shops and garages that can shut right through the outbreak, the company additionally mentioned it might faucet into the give a boost to introduced via executive to pay 80% of wage for personnel who’re stored on, masking wages of up to £2,500 a month.

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