Oasis, Warehouse profits rise on e-tail strength, launch upgraded shopping apps
Oasis and Warehouse are gearing for greater growth with new and upgraded shopping apps and the two sister retail chains announcing a profits surge. The company said group profit on an Ebitda basis rose as much as 48% to £9.5 million in the year to February.
The performance was boosted by digital operations, justifying the current investments the two chains are making in their online offer.
Profits surged despite total sales barely rising at all (they were up just 0.1% to £275.2 million), although it was encouraging that like-for-like sales rose a healthy 5%.
What was particularly pleasing though was the digital increase with a 20% rise that means online sales now make up quarter of the total for the two retailers.
Not that the company is only focusing on its online ops, with the trial of a ‘local store’ having been a success for Oasis and more being opened in market towns for the brand.
Oasis has also added its bridesmaid and ‘curve' collections to widen its products offer, as well as launching homewares. This latter addition, which is through a licensing agreement, echoes the move by rival River Island and shows how mass-market fashion retailers are trying to work themselves fully into consumer lifestyles rather than just into their wardrobes.
Oasis is also set to add in more categories such as home fragrances, stationery, luggage, beauty and bath gifting, and tableware.
Meanwhile at Warehouse, the company has struggled in recent periods but after closing 15 loss-making stores, it was back in profit during the second-half.
Group CEO Liz Evans said: “Despite the ongoing challenges within the retail environment, I am pleased with the growth the group has achieved during the last financial year.
“Oasis has reinforced its position in the market and delivered another solid performance, and we continue to invest in both the digital channels and new local stores. Warehouse’s turnaround journey is continuing to forge ahead.”
But she said challenges remain as consumers are cautious, Brexit continues to create uncertainty, and the overall shifts in the retail market mean there are plenty of issues to deal with.
One of the biggest issues is, of course, the shift online. But the two brands are clearly dealing with that successfully and the latest initiative should add to the growth.
They will be launching new shopping apps with software as a service (SaaS) app platform Poq. Both brands will be moving from apps created by agency providers – "a move that has come from the need to provide a better experience to customers,” they said.
Alixandra Burn, Head of Digital at Warehouse said: “Our App customers are strong brand advocates, and we want to be able to give them a shopping platform that had a point of difference to mobile web. It’s also important that we are able to update the platform easily and on a regular basis.”
Warehouse will be focusing the app roll out as part of its loyalty and VIP scheme, using app analytics to segment high-value customers and reward them through personalised in-app offers.
Hash Ladha, Oasis and Warehouse COO, also said personalisation and customer experience were important when considering app providers. "We wanted to transform the way in which shoppers engage with us on mobile, moving beyond what mobile web has to offer. Working with a SaaS provider, who offers out of the box features, like ‘app stories’, (an Instagram stories-like feature) and in-app GIFs will make for a more exciting and engaging shopping experience for our customers.”
Poq has also launched retail apps with Missguided, PrettyLittleThing and Quiz.
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