A change to the way online orders are now reported means that online returns are now deducted from sales, bringing the rate of growth down from 13.1% to 11.4%.
The department store said it had focused during the year improving its customer service for online shoppers, while also making ecommerce more efficient, especially in terms of fulfilment. The cut off for next-day click and collect has been extended to 9pm, and to midnight for next-day delivery to home. The company said click and collect accounted for almost 40% of ecommerce orders in the week running up to Christmas 2014, and for 26% of online orders over the full year. Uptake of premium delivery services was up by 32% over the year. Meanwhile, endless aisle fulfilment from store is now available in 150 stores.
Improvements to its checkout meant that conversion rates were 14% up across all devices. International online shopping, it said, was growing rapidly from a small base. It will soon launch a new international website offering local range, local currency and local payment options in a number of markets before opening local language websites in 2016.
The update came as Debenhams today unveiled revenue of £2.3bn in its latest full year,to August 29. That’s 0.4% ahead of the same time last year. UK sales of £1.9bn were 1.1% up on last time, while international sales of £400.4m were 2.5% down.
Chief executive Michael Sharp, who today said he would stand down next year after five years in the post, said profits reflected progress against strategic priorities. “We have had an encouraging start to the year, with strong new product launches which have been well received by our customers, and we are in good shape to build on last year’s strong performance over peak trading.
“Consequently, we are increasingly confident in the direction of the business and as a result we will accelerate our new initiatives, such as the roll-out of our successful space optimisation trials and new international growth opportunities.”