Debenhams [IRDX RDEB] today reported mobile-driven online sales growth as it updated investors on progress in its Debenhams Redesigned strategy to grow both through social shopping and through a ‘Fix the Basics’ plan.
The department store group, a Leading retailer in IRUK Top500 research, said that digital sales grew by 7.9% in the 15 weeks to June 17, and by 12.6% in the 41 weeks to the same date. Underpinning that growth, it said, was “rapid mobile growth”, with m-commerce sales up by 47%, year-on-year, and conversion rates up by 12%.
At the same time, like-for-like sales across the group fell by 0.9% over the 15 weeks, and grew by 1.8% over 41 weeks.
The Debenhams Redesigned strategy was announced in April and envisages making shopping a “fun leisure activity centres around mobile interaction with our customers”. So far it has set up a training programme for up to 2,000 staff who are moving to customer-facing roles.
It is also moving to a single warehouse management system and introducing direct-to-floor deliveries that it says will cut replenishment times from eight days to two. Online, it has introduced a new payment page and it also started to sell on Amazon.de. Consultation has started on the closure of the Debenhams distribution centre in Northampton and 10 regional warehousing sites. Stock options are being reduced by 10% to “declutter stores”.
Debenhams chief executive Sergio Bucher said: “We are making progress in implementing our exciting and ambitious new strategy which will make us the destination for social shopping. We have already started to deliver changes that will improve service for our customers and simplify and focus our operations.
“”As industry data has confirmed, May was a tough month for retailers and we continue to see volatility in trading week to week. As a result we are focused on delivering cost control and self-help through our “Fix the Basics” plan. We continue to build good foundations for longer term growth at Debenhams by becoming a Destination, Digital and Different.”