“Fashion has a huge part in Black Friday,” said Shop Direct deputy chief executive Gareth Jones as he revealed clothing sales outperformed the business as a whole on November 27.
Shop Direct is running “Cyber Fortnight” promotions between November 23 and December 6.
Black Friday on November 27 has been the busiest day so far, Jones said, but the week leading up to it and this weekend (November 28-29) beat expectations.
“Electricals were the big winner last year but for the week leading up to Black Friday we were 20% up on clothing year on year,” he said. “On the day itself, sales were up 73.8% year-on-year, outperfoming the business as a whole, which saw sales growth of 64% on the previous year.”
He did not give a breakdown for the Very, Very Exclusive and Littlewoods sites.
Jones said the company had focused on running its heaviest promotions during Cyber Fortnight, but confirmed that there will be “deals going on through to Christmas Eve” on a smaller scale.
Initial figures showed half of Shop Direct’s customers only bought discounted products during the period, but the other half purchased non-promotional items too.
Shop Direct is on track to gain more than 100,000 new customers throughout the two-week period, Jones added.
“There were a few [bricks-and-mortar] retailers that didn’t take part this time like Asda and some that scaled back their offers to avoid scrums at the door,” he said. “We had our own problems to deal with from last year all of which we managed to do. Our websites were up 100% of the time and 150,000 customers have already received delivery of their items, earlier than planned.”
He said he thought online was the big winner this year because customers found it more convenient and “it’s where all the offers are – in one place”.
This year, Shop Direct offered its first VIP Sales event between midnight and 6am of November 27, offering registered customers early access to promotions.
“We received 25,000 orders then, which gave our customers something special but also helped to spread the web traffic,” he said.
The retailer’s busiest hour on the day itself was between 9am and 10am, rather than mid-afternoon as it was last year.
- John Lewis also said its sales peaked between 9am and 10am, when its online site was taking 4.9 orders per second. The department store reported its strongest online fashion sales came from Barbour, which saw sales rise by 61% year-on-year, and Ted Baker, which was up by 66%. Overall sales in stores and online were up by 11.9% on last year.