Halfords signals continued shift to mobile motoring servicing with acquisition, says GlobalData

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Following the news of Halfords’ acquisition of Universal Tyres and Autocentres; Jonathan Rock, associate retail analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view: “Halford’s acquisition of Universal Tyres and Autocentres will significantly expand both its mobile motoring servicing capabilities, and its presence in the South East of England, where Universal is based.

“This follows Halfords’ acquisitions of McConechy’s and Tyres on the Drive in 2019, and the rapid expansion of its Mobile Expert vans fleet throughout the pandemic. While mobile motoring servicing has been well suited to the pandemic, Halfords’ continued investment in this market both prior and nearly post pandemic shows its confidence in its growth potential. With consumers quickly increasing their expectations of retail delivery services, it makes sense consumers will also demand that services, such as motor services, are delivered at the location that suits them

“Halfords’ continues to flex its economies of scale muscles in a motoring servicing market composed primarily of independent specialists lacking the same access to financial support and alternative revenue streams (e.g. cycling). Its size means it can provide mobile motoring servicing on a scale that competitors will struggle to match. Halfords pushing its advantage now while competitors are struggling is wise, given that motoring servicing demand can be expected to pick up once restrictions end and consumers address maintenance issues put off during lockdown.”