Home Retail Group is far from the only high-profile retailer facing declining fortunes and Retail Week Knowledge Bank’s profile tracks the detail and analyses the numbers behind the headlines for both Argos and Homebase.
Home Retail Group is far from the only high-profile retailer facing declining fortunes and Retail Week Knowledge Bank’s profile tracks the detail and analyses the numbers behind the headlines for both Argos and Homebase. One set of numbers jumps out as having potentially wider implications for other hard-pressed retailers, large and smaller. In the past three financial years, sales for Argos’s check-and-reserve online service grew 52%, from just over £700m to nearly £1.1bn, rising from 16% to 26% of total sales. Over the same period online sales for home delivery increased from about £410m to £425m – a rise of only 4% and just 10% of the total.
Evidence is mounting that click-and-collect is proving increasingly popular and – importantly – convenient to customers, with many larger, multichannel retailers reacting accordingly: Marks & Spencer, Sainsbury’s and John Lewis have extended facilities. Moreover, Boots has revealed click-and-collect now accounts for more than 40% of online sales.
There are surely lessons and comfort here for medium-sized retailers concerned about online competition. Online home delivery sales growth for many majors is falling back, while the surge in click-and-collect will be helping drive high street footfall. In response they should perhaps consider putting more emphasis on – or introducing their own – click-and-collect facilities to this widening audience, backed by relevant in-store and website initiatives. Even Amazon is experimenting with click-and-collect lockers in shopping centres, while Richer Sounds outperforms larger competitors despite, or perhaps because of, a surprisingly low 2% of sales made online, its website’s prime aim being to persuade customers into its stores. Those Argos numbers have helped bring the mind in focus.
- Robert Clark, Director, Retail Week Knowledge Bank