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Hudson’s Bay will roll out robotic fulfillment in the US next year

December 8, 2016 12:02 PM
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Hudson’s Bay Co. is improving its supply chain to keep up with rapid online sales growth.

Department store chain Hudson Bay’s online sales grew 73% year over year during the third quarter, while online sales are up 81.8% year over year for the first nine months of 2016, significant growth that was helped by the addition of HBC Europe and Gilt Groupe. Hudson’s Bay, No. 75 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, does not break out a dollar figure for its online sales in its quarterly earnings reports.

On the retail group’s fiscal third quarter 2016 call with analysts, executive chairman Richard Baker touted the success of the company’s robot-based fulfillment technology, which was unveiled in its Toronto distribution center last month.

“We believe that there is significant opportunity to grow digital sales in Canada and this technology will help us establish the platform we need to support that growth in a profitable manner,” he told analysts on the call, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha. Baker did not specify how fast digital sales are growing in Canada specifically.

But Hudson Bay’s Canadian business won’t be alone in benefitting from robotic fulfillment. CEO Jerry Storch told analysts the company plans to implement robotic fulfillment in its Pottsville, Pa., fulfillment center sometime next year.

“This technology can fulfill orders 12 to 15 times faster than the manual process we were previously using and allow us to make use of the vertical space in our distribution centers,” he said.

For the fiscal third quarter ended Oct. 29, Hudson’s Bay reported:

  • Total sales of C$3.300 billion ($2.492 billion), up 28.6% from C$2.566 billion ($1.938 billion) last year.
  • A net loss of C$125 million ($94.4 million), compared with a $7 million ($5.3 million) gain.

For the first nine months of fiscal 2016, Hudson’s Bay reported:

  • Total sales of C$9.855 billion ($7.442 billion) up 47.6% from C$6.676 billion ($5.041 billion) last year.
  • A net loss of C$364 million ($274.9 million), compared with a C$17 million ($12.8 million) gain.
 

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