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Debenhams, AO World, and Morrisons report strong festive ecommerce sales

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Debenhams, and AO World all today reported double digit online growth in their Christmas trading figures.

Debenhams , a Leading retailer in the IRUK Top500, reported a 12.1% rise in online sales in the 19 weeks to January 2016, reflecting, it said in today’s trading statement, rising customer confidence in a multichannel strategy that has included later cut-off times, more competitive charges for premium deliveries and the extension of endless aisle capabilities in order to improve availability.

The department store group said like-for-like sales were up by 1.9%, while group gross transaction value was up by 2.5%. A strategy of discounting less meant that full-price sales were up by 5%. It said it traded the unseasonably warm autumn well thanks to a planned reduction in stocks of coats and other outerwear.

The company said it had traded “successfully and profitably” on Black Friday. Almost half (46%) of online sales were collected in store in the run up to Christmas, with 31% of online orders collected this way in the first half of the year. Shoppers’ use of premium delivery services grew strongly.

Debenhams chief executive Michael Sharp said the group had enjoyed a “strong performance over peak resulting in a record Christmas.” He said this was evidence of a successful strategy with a “compelling” mix of products and brands. “The further improvements to our service proposition and our online presentation have delivered strong multichannel sales growth, building on the progress we saw last year.”

He said full-year profits were expected to be in line with expectations.

Morrisons, a Model retailer in the IRUK Top500, reported online sales up by 100% in the nine weeks to January 3 as it said it was beginning to attract customers back, with like-for-like sales up by 1.3%, year-on-year.

Chief executive David Potts said: “We are pleased with our improved trading performance over the Christmas period. While there is of course much more to do, we are making important progress in improving all aspects of the shopping trip, and our customers tell us they are pleased with the changes.”

In a third-quarter trading update, AO World, a Top150 retailer in the IRUK Top500, said revenue from rose by 35% in the three months to December 2015, wth UK revenue up by 24%. “We were pleased with the performance of the business through Black Friday week,” the company said in today’s trading statement.

Finally, , a Top250 retailer in the IRUK Top500, reported revenues of £73.7m in the four months to December 31, an increase of 45%. UK sales of £49.7m were 45% up on last time, while rest of Europe sales of £8.6m were 44% up, and rest of world sales of £15.4m were 63% up.

Joint chief executives Mahmud Kamani and Carol Kane said trading had been “very encouraging” across all regions. They said they had “optimised” the mix of promotional and marketing spend in order to drive sales growth. “Our investments in the customer proposition have resulted in higher conversion rates, increased order frequency and lower customer acquisition costs,” they said. “Operational successes include the new warehouse extension entering into full service, giving us the capacity required for business expansion, and the new UK app, which has improved the overall shopping experience.”

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