Bedding and linen retailer Julian Charles, which operates from 75 locations across the UK, reports that online sales had grown +30% across the year to date following the roll-out of its new ecommerce proposition.
The reopening of stores did not slow growth in online retail. In September, online sales for the retailer were up +65% YoY, with the management team expecting digital growth to continue to run at +25% over the next two years.
The online growth follows a period of intense investment in Julian Charles' digital proposition from SKG Capital, the retail-focussed family office, which acquired the Manchester-based business in June 2020.
Julian Charles relaunched its website in November 2020 to improve usability, customer experience, and speed of orders. The relaunch was paired with the introduction of free delivery on all online products, the addition of an online self-service process to substantially streamline returning products, and the introduction of a virtual assistant to quickly address customer queries.
Over the last 12 months, the retailer has also entered more partnerships with affiliates in the marketing space, such as Blue Light Card, which offers discounts to emergency service professionals.
The new website has also allowed Julian Charles to better showcase its range of products, as well as support the expansion of its product range to attract new customers and increase the size of the average digital order. Julian Charles has expanded its core bedding ranges as well as introducing new homewares products including artificial flowers, kitchen accessories, candles and scents.
The announcement follows the news that SKG has taken Julian Charles to a breakeven position from a £2.1m loss prior to its acquisition – a result of a strategic focus on online, keeping a significant presence in the high street, and appealing to younger consumers.
In the six-month period to April 2021, the business clocked up revenues of £4.2m, with online now totalling 20% of all sales, more than doubling the previous year’s 9%. Similarly, sales of luxury bedding have seen a +45% increase YoY, and new categories not previously stocked have seen a +600% increase.
Simon Peck, MD at Julian Charles, says: “It’s great to see the increase in our online sales this year. We have emerged from the pandemic with significant opportunities for growth, both online and in-store.
“The growth of our online proposition is introducing the historic Julian Charles brand to a new generation of customers for the very first time. We continue to focus on growing both our high-street and online presence across the UK over the coming months and years.”