Halfords CIO Anna Barsby will speak during the Business strand of the 2014 CIO Summit. Barsby was the focus of a CIO Profile and the cover of our July magazine, discussing the organisation's turnaround since October 2012 when the company announced a 27% fall in annual profits.

The retailer now stocks Pendleton bicycles, a partnership with London 2012 Olympics track cycling gold medallist Victoria Pendleton, alongside its successful brand of Boardman bikes, and is enjoying a golden turnaround on the back of its 'clicks and mortar' retail strategy.


Anna Barsby has been CIO at Halfords since March 2013, joining from TUI Travel where she was Business Change Delivery Director following a stint as Director of IT Projects and Programmes. Also with an MBA from Warwick Business School, History of Art graduate Barsby has also worked as Head of Infrastructure and Service Delivery at Whitbread, and IS Transformation Programme Manager for the Financial Services Authority.

What she told CIO UK

"Our strategy is to be a specialist retailer and make sure that our staff are very knowledgeable. We can learn from the online space and add speciality services. Online retailers are fiercely competitive, but outdoors and cycling shops are retail choices where consumers like to get personal advice and, in many cases, touch and feel the products."

The business

The retailer is in strong health as the result of a new multi-channel strategy and the transformation put in place by the senior leadership team.  The 'clicks and mortar' automotive and cycling store had looked like a spent force a few years ago, struggling with its identity and the a glut of online and out-of-town megastore retailers entering the market, but the week before the Tour de France arrived in Yorkshire for Le Grand Depart Halfords reported a 7.9% increase in like-for-sales on the previous year, including a 21.3% increase in cycling sales.

The technology

Along with its new website, Halfords is putting WiFi in every store and has a new store format rolling out where apps on touchscreen devices will enable customers to enter their car registration and find out exactly which specific parts they need.

Join us for the 2014 CIO Summit

The 2014 CIO Summit takes place on September 24 at The Langham Hotel, London from 9am until 5pm. This year's event will see 11 CIOs from national, international, private and public sector organisations discuss the transformations they have managed over the last five years and their vision for the next.

To attend the event, register yourself here.