Supermarket Asda has seen online sales soar 18.8 per cent in its fourth quarter, it has been announced today as the retailer expands the delivery capability of clothing arm George.com into Europe.
Now the UK‘s fastest growing online fashion retailer, George.com is set to expand to 24 countries following a successful trial in the Republic of Ireland and the roll-out is expected to be completed by July 2013.
In terms of physical stores, Asda has set its sights on expansion in the burgeoning Middle East market after piloting a standalone franchise in the Channel Islands and Middle East.
George‘s next franchise will open in Sharjah UAE in April followed by a second unit in Amman the following month while additional stores in UAE, Kuwait and Qatar are planned for later in the year.
In the 14 weeks ending January 5th 2013, Asda‘s total sales increased one per cent while like-for-like sales rose 0.1 per cent and the grocer grew gross profit over the quarter despite price investments.
Commenting on George‘s expansion, Andrew Moore, Chief Merchandising Officer for George and General Merchandise explained: “Our international growth strategy is focused on three key areas: franchising, online expansion and leveraging our relationship with Walmart using their existing stores to sell George UK products as well as their own ranges.
“We have invested heavily in developing the George brand; improving the customer experience online and in store, recruiting the best talent and growing our in-house design team significantly and ensuring that we are developing and sourcing high quality ranges.
“Customers globally, not just in the UK, are looking for real value in these challenging times and that‘s exactly what we will be offering to millions more customers around the world.”
In the UK, 60 per cent of George.com‘s sales are ordered via its popular Click & Collect service and the grocer is focusing efforts on improving its multichannel offering to capitalize on this growing trend.
“Multichannel, George and general merchandise are all performing well,” said Asda President and CEO Andy Clarke.
“We have seen online clothing sales growing faster than the market, with our biggest online Christmas ever.
“We‘re pleased with our results in a tough market… But this is no time to be complacent.
“It‘s likely to be a challenging and uncertain year ahead and so we will continue to focus on the customer and adapt the business to their needs.
“By doing this, I‘m confident we have a strong business that can drive growth in a sustainable way.”