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Super Retail Group’s online sales surge extends beyond Covid-19

Super Retail Group’s investment in omnichannel retail over the last few years has paid off, enabling it to ramp up its click-and-collect offer to meet increased demand from Covid-wary customers and fulfil Black Friday-like levels of online shopping with limited blowback.

Online sales across the group’s Supercheap Auto, BCF, Rebel and Macpac businesses totalled $290.5 million, representing 10 per cent of total sales in FY20, a 44.4 per cent increase on the prior corresponding period.

Most of this growth occurred in the fourth quarter, when online sales more than doubled on the prior corresponding period, accounting for around 15 per cent of total sales.

In several weeks during the peak Covid lockdown period, online sales accounted for between 30 and 40 per cent of total sales at Rebel, a level that Super Retail Group managing director and CEO Anthony Heraghty compared to Black Friday.

But the company’s true achievement, according to Heraghty, is that it was able to handle the surge in online shopping while providing a similar if not better customer experience.

The company’s NPS, a measure of customer satisfaction, rose 1.8 per cent in the year to 60.7. This is despite the fact that Super Retail Group didn’t have the opportunity to prepare for the increase in orders the way it usually does ahead of known shopping events like Black Friday.

The company was not immune to delivery delays, however; and Rebel suffered from inventory issues related to a cyber attack on Toll earlier this year, showing that there is “more work to be done”, according to Heraghty.

Still, a combination of group initiatives – such as the switch to digital catalogues – and permanent changes in consumer behaviour due to Covid-19 – more than 1 million customers shopped online with the group for the first time in FY20 – is likely to make e-commerce even more of a growth driver in the years ahead.

Heraghty told investors and analysts on Monday that online sales have “resettled” at a higher level than they were pre-Covid.

Together with the company’s category-leading positions in the auto, sports and camping and outdoor sectors, as well as broader trends towards health and fitness, Super Retail Group is well positioned to grow despite macroeconomic conditions, he said.

The group reported total sales of $2.83 billion in FY20, a 4.2 per-cent increase on the prior corresponding period, and a 3.6-per-cent increase when comparing like-for-like sales.

In FY20, over half of online sales (57 per cent) were delivered to customers’ homes; the remainder (43 per cent) were picked up from stores via click-and-collect.

Supercheap Auto continued to be the group’s leading business, accounting for 53 per cent of total EBIT, followed by Rebel, which accounted for 38 per cent. BCF accounted for 6 per cent of group EBIT, and Macpac contributed 3 per cent.

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