Why It’s a Great Time to Be Online: Our Good News Round-Up

  • 15th October 2020
Anna Murphy, Communications Lead

Written by Anna Murphy, Communications Lead

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It’s been yet another week of dizzying news stories, local lockdowns and the colder weather creeping in. Had enough of the doom and gloom? Us too. So, we thought it was about time to celebrate some of the good news stories from the world of retail.

Retail Sales Increase

It’s been a roller coaster of a year for retail sales. However, the latest research from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG Retail Sales Monitor show that total retail sales have increased 5.6% year on year, compared with a 0.6% decline in September 2019. This was above the six- and 12-month average declines of 1.1% and 1% respectively. The coupling of pre-school and pre-Christmas shopping has seen retail sales improve by 6.1% compared with September last year, when they had decreased 1.3% from 2018.

Sales of non-food items also improved – over the three months to September, retail sales of non-food items grew 5.2% on a like-for-like basis and 3.2% on a total basis.

Helen Dickinson, CEO of the BRC, said: “September saw a big improvement in retail sales growth, however sales over the last six months are still down on the previous year. With office workers still at home for foreseeable future, the sales of electronics, household goods and home office products have remained high. September sales have also given retailers early signs that consumers are starting their Christmas shopping earlier this year, which retailers are encouraging their customers to do in order to manage demand at Christmas and keep people safe. The industry also provides essential employment for three million workers in the UK and is already helping to contribute to the economic recovery.”

ASOS Enjoys Lockdown Spending

If lockdown has taught us anything, it’s the importance of having a successful digital footprint and a switch in marketing efforts to promote more relaxed clothing and leisurewear ranges – with being home-based still the priority for many shoppers. ASOS have reported a soaring pre-tax profit of 329% to £142m for the year to 31 August 2020 after their UK retail sales were up 18% to £1.17bn. Alongside this, international retail sales increased by 20% to £1.9bn and they can now boast seven million active UK customers.

UK customers showed a “pronounced shift towards more deliberate purchasing during lockdown”, despite reduction in demand for “going out product” the business said, with total visits growing by 19% on the previous year, while orders increased by 11%.

A Very Good Profit

The Very Group has returned to profit in its latest results for the year to 30 June, with full-year revenue having topped £2bn for the first time. Drapers reported that the group recorded a profit before tax of £48m for the year, after reporting a loss before tax of £185.5m in 2019.

With a multi-category model, The Very Group’s brands, including Very and Littlewoods, saw fashion and sports sales rose by 0.9%, including growth in women’s and children’s sports clothing, and other categories that performed well included beauty and leisure, home and garden and electricals. 

The Very Group’s CEO, Henry Birch, told Drapers: “Hitting £2bn in revenues makes us the second-largest, digital-only retailer in terms of UK sales behind Amazon. We achieved that by seeing growth across all categories. If you look from July, our overall full-price performance in fashion and sports was pretty much level year on year. What we have seen in the last few weeks is a change in the weather and fashion coming back. We are optimistic that fashion is continuing to grow, mostly in sportswear, loungewear and casual clothing. Occasionwear will continue to be more muted whilst events are on hold.”

Amazon Prime Day

Amazon has also delayed its Prime Day discounting event from mid-July to this week – split across 13 and 14 October – allowing its Prime customers to grab pre-Christmas bargains in what looks set to be another successful quarter.

It can’t come as a surprise that, in a year that’s hit bricks-and-mortar retailing and seen more people spending the majority of their time at home than ever before, Amazon’s previous quarters have been very successful. The internet behemoth previously announced that, in the three months to the end of June, global sales soared by 40% and its net income doubled to £3.9bn, as physical retail was forced to shut down.

Founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, also revealed that, in this quarter, third-party sales grew faster than Amazon’s first-party sales, highlighting a great opportunity for retailers to expand into this selling channel.

Our Reflections

Alex Broxson, our Chief Marketing Officer, says: “It’s really reassuring to hear these good news stories coming through in what has otherwise been a turbulent year for retail. Although there’s still many challenges ahead – and no-one’s quite sure what to predict for this “Golden Quarter” – as these latest news reports attest, it adds to the mounting evidence that retailers with a strong online proposition are the ones who continue to thrive. If you’re not sure if partnering with new selling channels is worth the effort and ROI, our OMIO PIM solution offers easy connectors to every possible digital channel, meaning that you can easily engage with new partners and test new markets.”


Strengthen your online proposition. Talk to our team to see how we can quickly implement OMIO PIM to prepare you for peak trading.

  • 15th October 2020
Anna Murphy, Communications Lead

Written by Anna Murphy, Communications Lead

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