Christmas results show omni-channel need

Garden Centres should take note of John Lewis' Christmas results, says retail consultant Andy Newman.

As the UK's big retailers begin to announce how they fared over the Christmas period, John Lewis Partnership has given "strong evidence" of how omni-channel is becoming further engrained in the nations shopping habits.  
In the six-week period to January 2, department store John Lewis saw total sales grow by 6.9 per cent, with online sales up 21.4 per cent.  
Andy Newman, director at mdj2 associates, who spoke about the importance of omni-channel within the garden centre sector at last year's Garden Retail Summit said:
"The John Lewis results give yet more evidence of the need for garden centres to consider their position on omni-channel. Overall these are a good set of results, and likely to be at the top end of retailer's performance over the Christmas period, but it's really clear that online sales grew by over 21 per cent ... which means their store sales were actually down more than one per cent like-for-like.  It is also really interesting to see that 35 per cent of John Lewis' online orders were collected from a Waitrose store - reflecting the growing convenience of 'Click & Collect'.
The most striking point, he said, was that John Lewis' core customer profile had such strong links to the garden sector, and that these customers continued to "change the way they shop right across the age spectrum".  
Powa Technologies chief executive Dan Wagner said: "Currently retailers are relying on improving sales figures and getting more people through the door by heavily discounting goods during sales, such as Black Friday or in January, but that is just damaging profits. Many leading brands are now turning away from this model and are focusing instead on improving customer engagement and providing shoppers with an omni-channel experience, which allows them to purchase items at their leisure."
Homebase Christmas results are due on 14 January though owner Home Retail Group has already warned about potential profits, while B&Q's next preliminary report is due on 24 March.
Next has reported "disappointing" Christmas results as warm weather hit winter clothes sales.

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