Clothing & Home
Restoring our reputation for style and value
Despite underlying progress this year,our transformation in Clothing & Home is yet to be reflected in like-for-like sales. While we saw a rise in customer numbers and growth in our online Clothing & Home sales ahead of the market, we remain at the early stages of our programme. Our aspiration is to be famous for contemporary, wearable style at great value. Our efforts in restoring our style credentials and value perceptions made progress and saw some wins this year. Sales of our £15 women’s jeggings were up 30% over the campaign period. And when we got the product fit and price right for the contemporary, family-age customer we aim to appeal to – such as our denim campaign case study above – we saw product fly off the shelves. But all too often our initial tentative steps to buying in depth meant many of the most popular lines sold out prematurely and our sales were constrained by poor availability.
Our digital capabilities have historically been well behind the market. Our platforms have not offered an inspirational or effective customer experience and our digital marketing hasn’t kept pace with how our customers want to shop. This year we delivered important enabling improvements by redesigning and improving our homepage to become top quartile among our peers on page load speed. We have invested in better navigation and product imagery and are delivering a more mobile-first and feature rich experience, with new tools such as Style Finder visual search. Digital marketing of our Holly’s Must-Haves range generated 1.7 million clicks through to our website, with tools such as Instagram Shoppable, helping drive sales. As a result of these actions, we saw UK Clothing & Home online growth of 9.8% and improved our online clothing market share. UK Clothing & Home sales online now stand at 22%, up from 19% last year.
We have begun to tackle our unwieldy supply chain operation, which hampers our speed to market, creates in-store handling costs and exacerbates our availability problems through slow-moving stock that sits trapped in the network. The opening of our new national Clothing & Home distribution centre at Welham Green and the closure of four regional sites has taken us a step closer to creating a more efficient and cost-effective single-tier network, where products are moved to stores via one single touch point. Alongside this, the improvements made at our national online fulfilment centre at Castle Donington resulted in increased peak capacity.
Best Ever Fit
Denim is one of our key categories with a loyal customer base and strong customer franchise, and our Best Ever Fit campaign in February helped us build on this position resulting in a 20% sales uplift.