H&B grows online sales by 27.5% as omni-channel strategy pays off

Online sales at Holland & Barrett grew 27.5% (with mobile sales up 127%) last year, highlighting the success of the retailer’s omni-channel strategy.

Combined turnover at the Holland & Barrett group of companies – with a 1,071 store portfolio including Holland & Barrett branded stores in The Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden plus franchised stores in markets including China – rose by 11.7% to £573.8 million

EBIDTA (earnings before interest, depreciation, taxes and amortization) for the group grew 12.2% to £146m.

Like-for-like (LFL) Holland & Barrett stores sales grew 7%, whilst online sales grew +27.5%. The retailer attributes strong growth in both channels “to the strength and skills of store and web teams and their relentless focus on customer engagement”.

LFL growth was led by the UK based H&B stores with +10.4% LFL growth. Sales to franchisees grew 84.6% highlighting the growing importance of overseas trade to the business.  Turnover for Holland & Barrett Retail Ltd increased by 15.8% with underlying EBITDA up by 16.6%.

Christian Keen, Chief Financial Officer Holland & Barrett International, said: “Our strong financial performance for the year ending September 2015 was based on a combination of continued investment in store openings and refurbishments and realising the value of our omnichannel growth strategy.  We opened 55 new locations last year, including franchises, and saw our investment in Oracle electronic point-of-sale technology drive increases in customers accessing our brand and products across all digital channels. Mobile sales have grown by a notable 127%.”

“Mobile sales have grown by a notable 127%”

Investment in franchise growth overseas continues apace, as recognised by the business this year being awarded the Queen’s Award for International Trade. Holland & Barrett has also invested heavily closer to home, including a commitment to some 70,000ft² of warehousing in Dublin to provide storage and distribution capacity for the growing Irish market as well the new base for distribution to some new overseas markets such as Scandinavia. The Irish business grew from 47 to 50 stores in the period and saw revenues increasing 5 per cent to 30.9 million euros.

In Amsterdam, Holland & Barrett International has opened a new head office allowing it to expand its warehouse facilities in Beverwijk.

Christian Keen added: “At the end of March this year we completed our 28th consecutive quarter of like-for-like growth. Investment in infrastructure in our home and overseas markets continues with our new Dublin warehouse opening on 1 May, and work has started to double the size of our head office in Nuneaton. We have set ourselves a challenging target to become a £1bn business by 2020, drawing on plans for further international growth and our ability to leverage our position as part of the NBTY Group.”