The change in weather was welcomed with open arms by retailers across all sectors as new stock was finally able to be brought to the fore. There was a 6 per cent improvement on May last year with the General sector showing the greatest improvement of over 12 per cent. There was only a marginal improvement on April given that the cold snap came in mid month.
May 2016 vs May 2015
The Sporting and General verticals really saw a shift compared with May last year at 11.6 per cent and 12.4 per cent respectively with Fashion falling behind slightly at just over a 1 per cent drop.
Getting mum outdoors and active was the theme for Mothers Day month as Sporting was the clear winner across many states with over 14 per cent growth seen in New South Wales and over 16 per cent in Victoria.
Our spotlight this month was on Bronze Snake, a fashion retailer with a store in almost all major Australian cities. They bucked the trend for Fashion across May with an increase of 4 per cent instore and 10 per cent online.
May was a very strong month due to the weather changing, especially here in Melbourne. The cold snap hit in the second week of May and we saw a real increase in sales then. The mentality changes a bit when the colder weather begins and our buyers are more willing to spend on a new jacket. We were up 10 per cent on last year for our webstore and instore was up 4 per cent on last year which is great news. We recently rolled out Afterpay a layby option on our website which may have positively affected our online sales.
Generally speaking, May is always up on April, we peek in July then come back up in December. Given our biggest seller are our jackets at a really affordable price point, we find that July is our biggest month of the year.
2. What’s your biggest operational challenge at the moment?
We started in 2006 with one store in Melbourne and over the last 2-3 years, we’ve opened up in Sydney, Adelaide, Perth and Auckland and looking to opening a new site in Queensland soon. Our biggest challenge is keeping up with the stock that we’re selling and our growth. We have a very reliable relationship with our factory and need to ensure we’re continuously delivering at the highest standard. It’s a long term solution which comes with growth – a good problem.
3. What’s working really well for you?
The fact that we’re the only ones who stock our own brand, if you want the Bronze Snake brand, it will always come from us either instore or online. Also, when we opened our store in New Zealand, online orders for New Zealand increased dramatically so having the bricks and mortar store on the ground really boosted online sales for us.
4. What are you most concerned about in retail in the short-term future?
Being a small business and trying to keep up with the ideas from HM or Zara. They have big teams working on new concepts and ad campaigns whereas we’re working with much smaller resources.
5. What are you looking forward to this year for your business or your sector?
We’re really looking forward to our continual expansion in Australia, next to Indonesia and the end goal will be the Americas.
By Aaron Blackman, CEO of Retail Express. All data sourced from the Australian Retail Index.