Halfords stores set to re-open due to "surge in bike sales"

53 Halfords stores set to re-open with social distancing measures in place53 Halfords stores set to re-open with social distancing measures in place
53 Halfords stores set to re-open with social distancing measures in place | ugc
Halfords will be re-opening 53 of its stores, including Preston, as bosses say they have 'seen a surge in bike sales' since the Government encouraged commuting that avoids public transport.

The stores, such as the one at Preston Albert Edward Dock, will allow a limited number of shoppers through its doors under a model bosses want to call "Retail Lite".

Halfords has been allowed to remain open throughout the global pandemic and subsequent lockdown, classed as an "essential" business.

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The decision comes after the Government said most non-essential retailers could reopen from June 15, as the company chose to close sites and operate an employee-only model where customers could make purchases from outside or online. 335 of Halfords' 446 retail stores have been run this way since lockdown was implemented.

Halfords at Preston Docks. Copright: Thomas Nugent.Halfords at Preston Docks. Copright: Thomas Nugent.
Halfords at Preston Docks. Copright: Thomas Nugent. | ugc

With the Government suggesting that the public try to avoid public transport, Yunus Suleman, who runs the local Preston on Wheels cycling group, said that he is hoping to reschedule their weekly sessions and expects the demand to increase.

"I am an isolated person so often go out on my bike and have definitely seen a lot more people using their bikes since lockdown began because it helps people," he said.

"We haven't been running our services during the pandemic because we are a large group and it would have been really difficult to keep people 2 metres apart but, we are planning to re-open our ride service towards the end of the month."

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Preston on Wheels is a Cycling UK affiliated centre that aims to make cycling accessible to all. Their sessions throughout the week give first timers and those with disabilities, the opportunity to cycle in a group around Moor Park.

Copyright: Pressedienst Fahrrad.Copyright: Pressedienst Fahrrad.
Copyright: Pressedienst Fahrrad. | ugc

The Government is encouraging people to use bikes for their work commutes, after announcing a £2 billion investment on May 9, which will see pop-up bike lanes, wider pavements, safer junctions and traffic-free neighbourhoods introduced as lockdown restrictions ease.

Halfords Chief executive Graham Stapleton said: "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."

New rules include reduced customers, queuing marshals, safety notices and floor markings, sneeze screen visors for staff and instructions to customers not to handle or try on products.