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Mobile key to Christmas success, says Joules CEO

Investment in mobile drove the strong online performance at Joules over Christmas, chief executive Colin Porter told Drapers today. 

Retail sales at the British lifestyle brand were up 11.7% year on year in the seven weeks to 6 January 2019, of which almost half were online. 

“Ecommerce is a continuous journey for us and we’ve made sure that everything we do, from marketing to how we show the product to the final transaction, is mobile first,” said Porter. 

”We’ve seen an increasing trend of traffic coming from mobile, and more importantly, customers converting on mobile.

“We’ll see more of the same in terms of customer behaviour this year and the bar just keeps getting raised when it comes to the digital journey. Delivery expectations are only getting higher because of what’s happening in the marketplace. We’re investing in digital experience because, frankly, if customers don’t get what they want they will go elsewhere.”

Porter toasted the “great success” of its gifting and women’s outerwear offer over Christmas.

“Gifting was a great success category for us, particularly bags and purses in anything from tweed to leather,” he said.

“Our toiletries collection, which has been part of the offer for some time, went from strength to strength this year and we saw good growth in men’s gifting. It was also good to see some of our traditional products, such as wellington boots and brightly coloured women’s outerwear were also performing strongly.”

Porter said high levels of discounting and uncertainty surrounding Britain’s departure from the European Union will remain some of the key challenges facing fashion retailers in 2019.

“We can’t avoid the Brexit word, although I tend to focus on what we can control. What we have seen over the last few months is the increase in the amount of promotional activity from competitors, at all levels,” he said.

“We can’t ignore what the customer is seeing out there in the market, but we can try and find a way round it by making sure we’re giving the right customers the right promotions at the right time. Joules has a strong database of over 1.1 million customers and growing, which gives us opportunities to target customers at relevant times. It is about agility, particularly given the current climate.”

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