How shoppers buy, and retailers sell, at the peak Christmas retail season, says a lot about how they trade through the year, and their strategic approaches to selling online and across channels. What do the latest trading figures out today say for retailers’ trading strategies online and across channels? We’ve taken a look…
Result: Total sales, excluding fuel, up by 2% in the nine weeks to January 1, and up by 2.9% on a like-for-like basis that strips out the effect of store openings and closures. Online contributed 0.6% to like-for-like sales.
Strategy: Morrisons [IRDX RMOR] says its best result for seven years comes as a result of “improving the offer, becoming more competitive, and serving customers better”. That’s both online and in the stores: Morrisons.com had its biggest ever week for sales during the period.
The retailer is also now using a new automated ordering system in its in-store grocery and fresh categories that combines cloud technology and historic sales in each store to forecast stock requirements. So far, says Morrisons, it has saved time, improved availability and reduced stock levels.
What they say: Chief executive David Potts said: “This Christmas we made further improvements to the customer shopping trip. We stocked more of what our customers wanted to buy, more tills were open more often, and product availability improved as over half of sales went through our new ordering system. Both like-for-like and total sales grew, which was very encouraging.
“Eighteen months ago I said that this would be a colleague-led turnaround, and our improving performance is entirely due to the continuing hard work of the Morrisons team of food makers and shopkeepers. I would like to thank all colleagues for making Christmas and New Year extra special for our customers.”
[IRDX RTTI] Top100 retailer
Result: Like-for-like sales up by 0.3% in the 13 weeks to December 31
Strategy: Topps Tiles [IRDX RTOP] says it’s made good progress in its strategy of out-specialising the specialists. Convenience is a key strategic driver and the retailer now has 15 boutique stores trading from high streets, alongside the larger stores that make up its 356 strong store estate. It plans to open about 15 new stores in the coming year. Its loyalty programme, trade rewards + now has 24,000 members, with around two-thirds of trade sales linked to the scheme.
What they say: Matthew Williams, chief executive, said: “We experienced softer trading conditions during the first quarter but we remain confident that we have continued to outperform the overall tile market. Against this background, our proven strategy, well-invested business and market leading position, leave Topps well-placed for further market share gains in the year ahead.”