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Online sales growth seems set to continue despite store and hospitality reopenings

Online shopper habits set to stick

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we report as store visitor numbers remain low, despite the reopening first of retail and most recently of hospitality. Most shoppers, it seems, have continued to buy online, with deliveries still at ‘Christmas +’ levels, according to ParcelHero’s David Jinks.

There’s more evidence for this proposition in our other stories today. Halfords, for example, says that its online sales have risen by 200% in the first quarter of the year – compared to last year. That represents a period entirely during lockdown. It says its recent investment in a new ecommerce platform has paid off, both now and over its latest financial year. 

Multichannel investment is credited for a relatively healthy performance at JD Sports Fashion in its latest financial year. Most of the year was before lockdown started and a 30% rise in sales was helped, says the company, by strong consumer demand for its multichannel model. The athleisure group says it still sees a role for its stores, but warns that rents may need to be more flexible in future, especially if social distancing continues.

In-built flexibility helped AO to adapt fast to Covid-19, its chief executive John Roberts said in a recent IRX Exchange interview with InternetRetailing’s Ian Jindal. We report on their conversation – which covered why the underlying core principles of the AO World group made it easier for the business to start working at home, and to make decisions on what kind of service it was most appropriate to provide. Roberts says that the retailer saw five years’ channel shift in five weeks, and suggests that shopping habits may have changed long-term.

And Boohoo has pledged to act if its suppliers fall below standard following an undercover investigation that found low pay and potentially dangerous working conditions at one of them. 

Finally, in today’s guest comment Rory O’Connor of Scurri suggests that customer behaviour has changed as a result of Covid-19, and that local shops can benefit by going digital.

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