Department stores finally crack E-commerce

The latest ONS retail sales statistics, released today, show August sales up 2.4% and department stores’ online sales growth of 24.5%. The E-commerce delivery expert ParcelHero says this shows some High Street favourites are finally getting their act together online.


The Office of National Statistics (ONS) retail sales statistics for August show Britain’s consumers bought 2.4% more items than in August 2016, with online sales again leading the way, up 15.6%. The e-commerce delivery expert ParcelHero says the good news for Britain’s beleaguered department stores is that their online sales were up a whopping 24.5%.

ParcelHero’s Head of Consumer Research, David Jinks MILT, says there are strong signs Britain’s favourite department stores are beginning to attract more online shoppers as well as loyal High Street customers. ‘Britain’s consumers have always valued department stores for their expertise and after sales service. Today’s ONS figures show that they are finally beginning to bring together their expertise with a more competitive approach to pricing online.’

David explains: ‘The ONS figures show shoppers bought an un-exciting 0.7% more items from High Street department stores in August.; there’s clearly not much chance for growth there currently. But when we look at their boom in online sales, up by a quarter in one year, it’s obvious that our favourite department stores are finally combining service and expertise with competitive prices.’

But not every department store has been a winner. House of Fraser recorded widening losses and a drop in like-for-like sales in its half-year report released today. And David adds: ‘House of Fraser’s half year results included a disappointing online drop of 9.8% over the same period last year; so it hasn’t matched the encouraging industry trend for the rest of the UK’s department stores’ online sales.’

However, there is also some good news here as well. House of Fraser said its e-commerce division is now doing well after sales were significantly disrupted in the immediate aftermath of the launch of its new online platform, which temporarily impacted sales and profitability in the first half.

Concludes David ‘With luck that investment should see House of Fraser catch up quickly with the boom in department store sales online seen elsewhere, so it can share in the online shopping revolution.’