In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we report as Debenhams promises business as usual after its lenders bought it in a pre-pack administration.
The department store business plans to press on with change, transforming its business model towards online while closing some of its stores. The retailer has said that it expects 30% of its business to take place online eventually, although currently it makes around 20% of its sales over the internet. Others are going in the other direction by adding stores: we also report as Harry’s, the direct-to-consumer men’s razor brand, starts selling in branches of Boots and on new research that aims to give the consumer’s view on how they want to use stores. The study suggests that customers want to use stores and they want to shop online, using both channels together, rather than expressing a strong preference for one over the other. This still represents change, however, since most sales currently take place in a store.
The latest monthly British Retail Consortium figures serve as a useful reminder that the long-term trend is towards more sales taking place online and fewer taking place in stores than do now - although most are still expected to happen in stores. If Debenhams is a guide, it’s likely there’ll be somewhat fewer stores in future, as online retail continues to gain in importance to shoppers. But we believe that retailers will need work out ways that digital and the store can work together, rather than against each other. Today we report on that other challenge of our age, Brexit, and on how Hattons Model Railways is approaching the subject. We look to our European coverage for an update on the Belgian ecommerce market.
Today’s guest comment comes from Julian Fisher of Jisp, who considers how retailers can benefit by forging closer links with millenials.