Record-breaking sales continue in the run-up to Christmas
Retailers are continuing to report record online sales as Christmas approaches. Reporting on its figures for the seven days to December 15, John Lewis [IRDX RJLW] said records set just the previous week had already been smashed. It took £147.8m across its multichannel operation, while Johnlewis.com alone set a personal best for the second week in a row, with revenues of £43.1m.
Maggie Porteous, head of selling operations for John Lewis, said: ‘With a further nine shopping days before the big event, it is excellent news to have already had two record weeks, both over £140m for the first time.
“Whilst some of our customers will have finished their gift buying, have their homes decorated and be prepared for guests, many are still set to shop during the final week and weekend, with a number leaving it right up until the last minute on December 24.”
Mobile accessories pureplay Mobile Fun [IRDX RMFN] also reported a record rise in orders, for the second week in a row. In the seven days to December 16, it reports receiving more than 14,800 orders across its websites. That’s 17% up on the previous busiest week in its 13-year history, and 23% up on the same week last year. The company says it has recently started to open its warehouse seven days a week to meet demand.
“The recently-launched websites in Australia, Belgium and the US boosted our order figures,” said Mohammed Hussain, managing director at Mobile Fun, “while continuing demand for mobile accessories from our sister sites, such as LoveCases.co.uk also contributed significantly.”
And sexual happiness product retailer Lovehoney [IRDX RLOV] says it had the busiest day in its 10 years in business on Sunday December 16, when sales were 73% up on the same day last year. It put the surge in traffic down to the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year, and says sales rose throughout the three-hour event. Its previous busiest day was on Cyber Monday, December 3.
Matt Curry, ecommerce manager at Lovehoney said: “We tend to find that Sundays and Mondays are our busiest times of the week. Couples are busy during the day on a Sunday and then they settle down in front of the telly. They combine their watching by doing a lot of online shopping on mobiles, tablets and PCs.
“Sports Personality of the Year totally dominated the night’s viewing with an audience of 14 million but a lot of those people were doing their Christmas shopping at the same time.
“It was great that Bradley Wiggins won but, let’s face it, the whole event went on and on and on and lots of viewers, particularly women, were clearly trying to find something else to do while it was on.”
Digital agency Screen Pages studied the performance of 18 of its clients between December 1 and 15 and found average sales were 32% up on the same time last year. The niche brands that it works with include online shops for the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and the Historic Royal Palaces, as well as Finisterre, The Real Flower Company and Christopher Ward. It found that average visitor numbers were up by 33%, while more than a third of its businesses reported sales growth up by more than 40%. Only two saw lower visitor numbers, while four online operations saw their sales fall, compared to the same time last year. Some 13.4% of all visits came from iPads, and 7.4% from iPhones.
Screen Pages director Roger Willcocks said: “It’s clear that some businesses have a strong Christmas business and gifting programme, with appropriate product and relevant marketing and promotional activity to support it.
“This is nothing new and is largely down to effective planning, good management and attention to detail. Sound businesses should be achieving a minimum 25% sales growth online.”
Online party supplies and fancy dress retailer Party Delights reported a 22% like-for-like increase in sales of Christmas party ware, decorations and fanciest dress in its busiest week of the year – the week to December 2. “For Party Delights the biggest Christmas shopping day by far was Monday November 26,” said Steve Graham, sales director at Party Delights.
And MetaPack’s eCommerce Tracker confirmed a later Christmas shopping peak for the year, with predictions that the final full week leading up to Christmas Day would be “uncharacteristically busy”.
“Historically week on week volumes have fallen between 30% and 50% in the week prior to Christmas,” said Patrick Wall, founder and chief executive of MetaPack [IRDX VMEP]. “This year volumes are expected to hold with Monday to Wednesday comparable to last week. Retailers such as ASOS, Boohoo, Matalan and Monsoon were still experiencing increasing volumes at the start of this week. The majority of leading retailers will continue to take pre-Christmas orders until at least Thursday.”
Monday December 17 saw sales stay broadly flat on the previous Monday, growing by 1%. In 2011, sales fell by 2% between the two days.
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