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Fashion retailers report fast online growth

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In the week that ONS figures showed fashion retailers were one of the few categories to enjoy a double-digit sales growth in August, traders from Zara-owner Inditex to JD Sport and River Island have released their latest figures. We took a look at what they said about their online strategies.

Inditex, owner of multichannel brands including Zara and Massimo Dutti, this week said its online sales grew by 16% in the period between August 1 and September 10. The company currently sells online in 28 countries, with Zara launching websites in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan most recently.

The update came as Inditex released first-half figures showing net sales reached €9.42bn in the six months to July 31, 17% up on the same time last year, while net profit of €1.16bn was 26% up.

JD Sports Fashion , releasing its first-half figures, said pre-tax profits in the six months to August 1 had reached £46.6m before one-off costs. That’s 82% ahead of the same time last year, on sales of £890.9m that were 21% up on last time.

It cited multichannel success in its fast-growing profits.

Executive chairman Peter Cowgill said: “In an extremely competitive market for sports fashion footwear across Europe, we must acknowledge that the levels of organic growth that we have seen over the last two years are unlikely to continue indefinitely, albeit the JD brand continues to strengthen and further opportunities prevail.

“Our current successful exploitation of these favourable market conditions reflects investments that we have made over a number of years in developing our multi-channel retail proposition and driving improved buying, merchandising and retailing disciplines. We continue to invest heavily in these areas.”

Finally, River Island reported a 48% increase in mobile traffic to its website and 32% rise in click and collect sales, according to reports. The Telegraph said the rise came as River Island profits rose to £149.1m compared to £88m the year before, as sales rose to £925.8m in the year to the end of December 2014, a rise of 10.4%.

Chief executive Ben Lewis told the Telegraph that it was tapping into the behaviour of customers who shop as they go.

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