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EDITORIAL Frasers Group on digital and business rates, Dr Martens on selling direct, Victorian Plumbing on the shift online

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Today we have the latest from multichannel and ecommerce retailers as they expand online, sell direct to consumers and, inevitably, face supply chain issues – plus the latest updates on the delivery and logistics that are so important at this time of year. 

Frasers Group says it’s continuing to invest across channels for the long-term – in digital, stores and fulfilment – as it reports a half-year rise in sales and pre-tax profits. But the retailer also says that business rates are costing its premium lifestyle business dear, especially its large House of Fraser department stores. 

Dr Martens is selling more of its shoes direct to consumers, both in-store and online, and seeing sales and profits grow as a result. The brand had stocked up at the beginning the year, it says in half-year figures today, which has helped it manage the Covid-19 closures of Vietnam supplier factories.

Victorian Plumbing says that shoppers moved online to buy its bathroom products during Covid-19 lockdowns – and that now they will continue to buy more of those types of product online in the future. That gives it potential for further growth after a year in which sales already grew by 29% – but pre-tax profits fell as the retailer saw its costs rise, including the one-off cost of flotation on the London Stock Exchange. 

We also report as maternity wear retailer Seraphine expands its online presence both through new country websites and new digital partners, but says footfall in its eight shops has yet to recover to pre-pandemic levels. And Watches of Switzerland says luxury watches and jewellery are selling well, including through the online engagement tools it introduced in Covid-19 lockdowns, which are still proving popular. 

We round up latest delivery updates – from Royal Mail’s mapping technology trial, to Accenture’s test of Christmas shipping times and costs, Ofcom’s consultation on improving delivery standards and more. 

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