ScS today reported online sales of £5.4m in the first half of its financial year, 25% more than at the same time last year.
The sofas and carpets specialist, a Top350 retailer in IRUK Top500 research, said the boost to ecommerce sales came following development of the ScS ecommerce platform.
At the same time, gross sales reached £165.9m in the six months to January 28, 14.1% more than at the same time last year, while pre-tax losses narrowed to £2.2m, from £2.8m at the same time last year.
David Knight, chief executive of ScS [IRDX RSCS], said: “For the 33 weeks ended 18 March 2017, like-for-like order intake growth was 0.9%. This is a pleasing performance against very strong prior year comparatives, and represents a two year like-for-like order intake growth of 12.5%.
“Trading in February was challenging, largely driven by reduced footfall. However, we have seen an improvement since the start of March.
“We remain mindful that the Group still faces the key Easter and May bank holiday trading periods and faces very strong comparatives during the remainder of the year. The Board believes the business remains in a strong position to maximise opportunities as they arise and to grow market share.
“Given the year to date performance of the business, the board currently expects results for the financial year to be in line with expectations.”
The Scs strategy is to increase sales density per square foot at its ScS stores, and it says that investing in both physical and digital footfall through raised brand awareness has helped to lift that figure to £232 – £31, or 15.4% more than in the previous year. Contributing factors have also included investment in online capabilities and offers, and work to improve the customer journey, evidenced in a five-star Trustpilot rating via more than 51,000 reviews.
The retailer said in today’s financial statement: “Given the big-ticket and bespoke nature of the items we sell, we have found that a high proportion of our customers will visit our stores before they make their final purchase decision. It is clear from research that having a high quality, responsive web platform is critical as customers are increasingly researching online prior to making a purchase and our websites are an integral tool to support our customers.
“Accordingly, the group has continued to improve its online offering and significantly increased website marketing spend. This has driven improvements in our website visitor count and conversion.”
ScS is finding new ways to sell that reflect shoppers’ different needs. “Continued analysis demonstrates that certain customers prefer to shop in department stores and town centres and have a different expectation of the product being offered,” it said. As well as operating 100 standalone stores, mostly in out-of-town retail parks, ScS also has concessions in 100 House of Fraser stores, where sales grew by 22% over the first half.
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