ScS set out in half-year results today why online is so important to its business, even though 95% of its sales take place in stores.
Almost all (95.1%) of the sofa-to-carpet retailer’s sales are made in store, but, nonetheless, online is the fastest-growing part of its business, with sales worth £7.8m made online in the first half of the year, up by 30% on the £6m reported last year. It is investing in its ecommerce team as well as in online marketing and website development. “Website visitor traffic has continued to rise, and whilst we’ve identified that this is largely due to customers researching products prior to visiting a store, our strong performance demonstrates an ever increasing number of customers are confident to make purchases online,” ScS said in half-year results, published today. "Although average online order value is still below that achieved in-store, this has also increased compared to the same period last year.”
ScS is working to replatform its website, with a focus on improving the customer online experience through increased speed, functionality, look and feel, especially on mobile. The retailer has a five star rating on Trustpilot from more than 100,000 reviews, which it shares across its sales channels.
ScS is also using mobile technology in order to ensure a good customer experience working with both delivery and post-purchase teams, through benefits from route optimisation through to delivery tracking for customers. And it has a mobile first recruitment website as it looks to attract and retain staff. The retailer monitors its staff retention rates and says they were 4.7% up on the previous year, compared to the same time in the previous year.
The updates came as ScS, a Top500 retailer in IRUK Top500 research, reported revenues of £151.4m (+1.1%) in the half-year to January 26. Pre-tax profits from continuing operations came in at £0.5m, up from £0.4m a year earlier.
David Knight, chief executive of ScS, said: “The group continues to deliver profitable growth whilst increasing its resilience. The board is pleased with the group’s year to date trading, which is in line with its expectations. For the 33 weeks ended 16 March 2019, the group achieved like-for-like order intake growth of 2.9% and two-year like-for-like order intake growth of 4.6%. Our focus on providing excellent choice, value and quality for our customers, coupled with our commitment to delivering against our strategic priorities, continues to prove successful.
“The retail market continues to suffer in the midst of the uncertain economic and political environment. We therefore expect the trading environment to continue to remain challenging in the short to medium term, although the board is confident that the group is well-positioned to maximise opportunities as they arise.”
ScS trades from 100 stores as well as online. It has closed its 27 concessions in House of Fraser stores, a move completed in January 2019. It said it had managed to keep and fulfil many of the orders in its order book before House of Fraser went into administration. “This, combined with strong stock management, ensured a limited impact on the group’s overall result," it said in today’s statement. "We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our colleagues who have worked in our House of Fraser concessions for their dedication and hard work.”
Image: Screenshot of ScS website, InternetRetailing Media