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EDITORIAL How Tesco, Dunelm, Halfords and other Top500 retailers traded in lockdown and over peak

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In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting on how Top500 retailers traded in lockdown, over Christmas – and what impact Brexit is having on their business.

Tesco has seen online demand almost double over Christmas, adding almost £1bn to its ecommerce sales as many shoppers opted for home delivery or click and collect. Halfords, too, has seen online sales grow by 76% over the latest quarter of its financial year. Many of its ecommerce sales are collected in store, where it also continues to see growth in sales through the services it offers to motorists and cyclists. Both are essential retailers that have continued to trade throughout recent lockdowns. 

Multichannel services have proved a lifeline for non-essential retailers, making up for sales lost when stores closed. Dunelm, for example, says it has been making 30% of its store sales via click and collect during lockdowns, and online has grown fast at Card Factory. 

Boohoo Group has outperformed many other clothing retailers during the run-up to Christmas. That’s partly as a result of adding the Oasis and Warehouse retail brands to its portfolio, but it’s also because it is skilled at trading online. The contrast with Primark is clear the retailer has shown that when its stores close its sales stop completely. As yet, however, the Associated British Food-owned business does not appear tempted to trade online. N Brown Group, meanwhile, pivoted to the fast-growing categories of homewares and gifts and has seen its sales start to recover. 

And we report as Gear4music sees sales rise – but flags up the costs of Brexit to its growing online business, and as N Brown Group says it has pi. 

Our regular predictions piece today looks at how payment preferences may develop in 2021. 

In today’s guest comment, technology writer Brian Skewes considers the role of social media in ecommerce. 

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