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EDITORIAL M&S, FatFace, Quiz and Sephora on the importance of stores

Image: InternetRetailing Media/Paul Skeldon

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting as retailers continue to tell us how they got on at Christmas. It’s clearly been a season of contrasting fortunes – often contrasting, too, with how traders fared during the pandemic. For Quiz, it’s been a great Christmas. Sales are well up on last year, especially in-store. But that’s not surprising considering that the pandemic was very challenging for the occasionwear retailer. 

FatFace, too, has benefited as shoppers returned in store in the first half of its year, and to an even greater extent over Christmas. 

For Marks & Spencer, stores give it a competitive advantage. The retailer this week unveiled plans to invest £480m in new stores, of which 20 will come next year. It’s focusing on opening a strategic number of full-line stores alongside an estate of food only shops. 

No surprise then that Sephora is opening its own flagship store in London this march, building on its earlier acquisition of Feelunique and the launch of its website and mobile app under the Sephora name. 

In contrast, online grocer Ocado saw its sales rise only slightly in the run up to Christmas – although Christmas itself saw record sales – and revenues fell overall in its latest financial year. That, says the retailer, is because although more shoppers bought groceries online – shoppers are also buying fewer items in the cost of living squeeze. 

But THG has found a way to keep growing sales despite cost-of-living concerns. It’s invested in keeping price rises at brands including Lookfantastic below inflation, while saving costs elsewhere – including by moving out of unprofitable categories. 

And in today’s predictions round-up we focus on how stores are likely to be used for fulfilment in the year ahead,  as well as on returns. 

In today’s guest comment, Laurent Lacaze of Front-Commerce outlines options for retailers focusing on mobile

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