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Online helps Matalan defy High Street gloom to post 4.9% revenue rise

Matalan says its revenue for the quarter ending May 26th increased by 4.9% to £265.9 million, bucking the recent spate of gloomy results from High Street retailers.

That performance compares to £253.4 million for the the same period in 2017, while EBITDA came in at £24.8 million, up nearly £22.3 million on the year before.

The fashion and home interiors specialist has invested heavily in its online operations over the last 12 months, with sales from digital up an impressive 39% during the quarter.

That said, the company has also continued to invest in its bricks and mortar sites with an ongoing refurbishment programme – it says its online and High Street buoyancy is the result of good stock management, an agile customer contact strategy and a flexible operating model.

Jason Hargreaves, Matalan’s Chief Executive, said: “Our stores and online channels work in a complementary manner giving customers the convenience and flexibility they are looking for… Greater product choice, an improved in-store shopping experience and further enhancements to the website have all been really well received.”

“We don’t expect the retail climate to improve in the short term and market conditions will remain difficult. Currency pressures on operating margins are ongoing. We are therefore cautious in our outlook but confident that our strategy is delivering for customers which positions us well.”

Mike Coupe Sainsbury's

Sainsbury’s core business down, but overall sales up

Sainsbury’s has reported a 0.5 per cent downturn in business in like-for like sales, excluding fuel, in the nine week period to March 11th.

However, the company’s overall sales growth was propped up by a 4.3 per cent increase in like-for-like sales at Argos alone, with a slight acceleration from growth of 4.0 per cent in the previous quarter.

This is good news for Sainsbury’s, which acquired the Home Retail Group, owners of both Argos and Habitat, last September for an estimated £1.4bn.

The company now has over 2,000 stores, which include 601 supermarkets, 773 convenience stores, 739 Argos stores (including concessions) along with three Habitat stores. Sainsbury’s also benefits from online retail of food, clothing, financial services and general merchandise, with the online grocery business reporting a seven per cent growth, with orders up eight per cent.

The Tu clothing brand from Sainsbury’s also faired well, with sales up 5 per cent. The supermarket has registered strong growth in clothing sales over the past three years as sales increased by 8.5 per cent in 2015/16 after hitting a high of 11.9 per cent in the previous year.

According to data from consumer knowledge and data analysis’s, Kantar Wordpanel, supermarkets now account for £1 of every £10 spent on clothing and 23 per cent of items bought.

Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons and Asda continue to be involved in a bitter price war as budget supermarkets Aldi and Lidl continue to take market share from the Big 4.