Sports Direct said today that online sales hit £383.8m in its latest financial year, 14.4% ahead of the same time last year, with growth driven by the launch of its click and collect service.
Despite being launched only in the second half of the year, the service already accounts for more than 20% of all UK online orders. Sports Direct today hailed this as "exceptional" and especially so "considering we charge £4.99 for this service." In all, online sales represented 16.5% of sport retail sales, excluding wholesale. That's up from 15.1% at the same time last year.
Mobile traffic was a significant part of the online mix for Sports Direct, which trades as brands including SportsDirect.com, Footlocker and USC. Mobile accounted for more than half of all online visits during the year, the sports fashion retailer said today.
The news came as Sports Direct reported sales of £2.8bn in the year to April 27
, 4.7% up on the same time last year. Pre-tax profits of £313.4m were 30.9% up on last year.
Online, Sports Direct said it had also focused on improving the customer experience across Europe, offering more language and currency options on its main website, and planning dedicated European websites in future, with payment methods including Ideal, the payment method used widely in Holland, along with Giro and Sofort. Other improvements have included enabling customers to buy gift cards online, and the company is also working to improve its check-out system.
Offline, the retailer focused on larger city centre stores, opening 39 in the UK, and closing 16, with 16 new stores in Europe and seven closures.
In future, the company continues to focus on online and on expansion into Europe, while also refurbishing its UK stores and managing the estate to reduce costs and increase sales areas.
Chief executive Dave Forsey said: "Online remains a significant growth opportunity for the Group. The launch of UK click and collect in the year in both Sports Direct and USC has driven a significant increase in online sales, and we now plan to continue to roll this out across the other Group websites.
"Further opportunities to grow this business include the launch of a loyalty scheme for customers including annual fixed price delivery options and the development of dedicated websites and improved payment options across Europe. We also plan to introduce a fast pay checkout system which will streamline the checkout process."