Matalan to expand homeware range following customer research

Fashion and homewares retail chain Matalan has revealed plans to expand its homeware department to appeal to a wider customer base.

Matalan said that research has shown that its customers want the retailer to expand its homeware range and will react accordingly by extending its range in ‘key categories’.

“This will better equip us to drive cross-shopping from clothing into homeware,” Matalan said, adding: “We aim to create a reputation for having a stylish homeware and garden offering, with great choice both through our own label and third-party brands.

Matalan has reported total sales of just over £1bn for the 52 weeks ended 26 February 2022, increasing from revenues of £744.1m in 2021. Restated EBITDA resulted at £100.3m, significantly improving from a loss of £21.5m the previous year.

Pre-tax losses were significantly reduced from £131.5m last year to £7.7m. The company also reduced its staff by 721 during the year, with 10,837 on the books.

Matalan said online sales surged despite its store performance being impacted by the pandemic, while it also incurred significant levels of discounting due to the need to liquidate old stock as a result of the store closures.

Moving forward, the retailer said it will invest in store refurbishments, which will be reinstated in 2023, as well as bolstering its online capabilities. With the latter, it has decided to move its website to an alternative platform, and has signed a letter of intent and agreed commercial terms with Manchester-based The Hut Group to utilise its Ingenuity platform to “create a differentiated online selling experience”.

Commenting on the results, Steve Johnson, Executive Chairman of Matalan, said: “The results published today for the year to February 2022 represent a strong recovery during what remained a period of ongoing challenges, including mandated store closures and the continuation of worldwide supply chain disruption as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite these obstacles, and assisted by the support packages provided by the government, we significantly improved our level of performance and profitability in what remain demanding circumstances for both our sector and consumers more broadly.

“Throughout the last year, our large and spacious out-of-town stores with free parking remained safe and appealing destinations for customers, with the two newly opened stores also performing well. Our stores complement what is now a significantly scaled online business, having grown its turnover by over 50% since the beginning of the pandemic, with lots more potential still to realise. Together, they provide our customers with convenient and flexible access to the great quality and value ranges that they trust and rely on, now more than ever.

“In parallel to navigating the near term market conditions, we continue to progress our digital transformation programme, building on last year’s first phase of supply chain automation and further developing the planning for the migration of the website onto the THG Ingenuity platform in spring 2023. These developments will drive and underpin further growth in our omni-channel proposition as we move the business forwards.”

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