On-line gross sales for clothes and residential took off in 2021 for Marks & Spencer (M&S), based on its half-year outcomes.
When put next with the 26 weeks to twenty-eight September 2019, M&S discovered within the half-year to the two October 2021 that whereas total clothes and residential gross sales have been down 1%, on-line gross sales for the class have been up 60.8%, now accounting for a complete of 34.4% of the retailer’s gross sales of clothes and residential items.
The retailer selected to make comparisons to its pre-Covid half-year outcomes, because the retailer claimed the coronavirus pandemic makes comparability with the identical interval within the earlier yr “much less significant”.
General, the previous two years has seen on-line develop as a channel for the retailer, with lively on-line clients growing to 9.6 million.
Highlighting among the difficulties all retailers might be going through, Steve Rowe, chief government of the M&S group, stated: “Given the historical past of M&S, we’ve been clear that we received’t overclaim our progress. Unpacking the numbers isn’t a linear train and we’ve known as out the Covid bounce again tailwinds, in addition to the headwinds from the pandemic, provide chain and Brexit, a few of which is able to proceed into subsequent yr.
“However, because of the onerous work of our colleagues, it’s clear that underlying efficiency is bettering, with our principal companies making vital positive factors in market share and buyer notion. The onerous yards of driving long-term change are starting to be borne out in our efficiency.”
A part of the rationale for sturdy on-line progress for clothes at M&S lies within the retailer’s MS2 undertaking, launched earlier within the yr to permit clients to buy a collection of non-M&S manufacturers by means of M&S.com.
The retailer claimed MS2 has already boosted on-line progress and buyer retention, with the model noting its acquisition and digital relaunch of trend model Jaeger has acquired “an encouraging early buyer response”.
It’s hardly shocking that M&S reported gross sales in shops have been down 17.6% in contrast with the half-year ending 28 September 2019 – when customers stayed at residence as a consequence of lockdowns within the early a part of the pandemic, there was a surge on on-line gross sales for varied market segments as folks settled into lives spent predominantly at residence.
Whereas meals gross sales grew 10.4% for M&S within the half-year ending 2 October 2021 compared with 2019, regional variations have been obvious because of the pandemic, with M&S claiming meals gross sales in retail parks had elevated by 23.3%, whereas in metropolis centre shops meals gross sales dropped 18.4%, compared with two years in the past.
However regardless of poor efficiency of retailer gross sales, M&S reported a revenue earlier than tax of £187.3m for the half-year ending 2 October 2021, an enchancment on the £87.6m loss in the identical interval final yr.
In relation to its digital transformation, the retailer stated it’s now transferring on from “fixing the fundamentals” into the following section, and predicted sustained demand as a consequence of pandemic “bounce again” and “improved buyer notion” of the model.
However the retailer acknowledged that rising price pressures will make it extra vital to work on the group’s productiveness plans, retailer shakeup and expertise funding over the following yr.
These outcomes will not be uncommon for the retailer – M&S has been present process digital transformation for a few years after admitting on-line remit is behind that of its opponents.
When the agency reported a drop of earnings in 2019, the identical sample occurred – income for clothes and residential dropping while web site visitors elevated and meals gross sales “outperformed the market”.
In its second half of fiscal yr 2021 outcomes, M&S stated Ocado Retail has opened three extra central fulfilment centres, and the retailer plans to succeed in the flexibility to fulfil round 700,000 orders every week.
The latter half of 2020 noticed M&S and Ocado enter the primary week of their on-line supply partnership, permitting clients to order M&S meals by means of the Ocado platform as a part of a £750m deal which noticed M&S take possession of half of Ocado UK Retail enterprise.