Citing ‘outsized growth,’ Hudson’s Bay Co. projects more investment in digital this year

April 3, 2014 12:16 PM

“Sales growth is driven by digital,” said Donald Watros, Hudson’s Bay Co. president and acting chief financial officer, this morning in a call announcing the retailer’s fourth quarter and fiscal 2013 results. That’s why the retailer, which owns the Hudson’s Bay, Lord & Taylor and Saks Inc., will spend C$40 million ($36.2 million) this year to enhance its digital systems. In part, that will include enhancing its ability to fulfill online orders from stores, which will in turn allow it to list more items on its web site, the company says.

Web sales totaled C$369.6 million ($334.8 million) for Hudson’s Bay in fiscal 2013, which ended Feb. 1. This total includes Q4 web sales for Hudson’s Bay Co. closed its US$2.9 billion purchase of Saks Inc. Nov. 4, the first day of Hudson’s Bay’s Q4 reporting period. Hudson Bay Co. chairman Richard Baker cited Saks Inc.’s digital capabilities as a reason why Hudson’s Bay acquired it: “One of the compelling aspects of acquiring Saks was their digital capabilities were more developed than ours.”

“Digital sales were a significant source of our momentum last year and we expect continued outsized growth of this channel,” Baker continued, noting the creation of the HBC Digital division, which is headed up by Michael Burgess, the former president of Saks Direct. Baker said consumers who shop on the web and in Hudson Bay-operated stores spend three to four times as much as consumers who shop only online or only in stores. He said that 70% of Hudson’s Bay retail transactions are influenced by digital, and that its C$40 million investment in digital will also have a positive impact on stores. “[We want to] move quickly and efficiently to capitalize on this tremendous opportunity,” he said.

For the fourth quarter ended Feb. 1, Hudson’s Bay, No. 158 in Internet Retailer’s 2013 Top 500 Guide, reported:

  • E-commerce sales of C$252.3 million ($228.5 million). The total includes Q4 2013 web sales from Saks. In Q4 2012, web sales from Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay totaled C$58.0 million ($52.5 million). The retailer did not break out web sales by brand, but said Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay web sales grew approximately 59% from the fourth quarter of 2012. Based on those numbers, Internet Retailer estimates that Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay generated approximately C$92.2 million ($83.5 million) in web sales in the fourth quarter, with Saks generating the remaining C$160.1 million ($145.0 million).
  • Comparable-store sales grew 6.6%, with Hudson’s Bay growing 5.2%, Saks growing 3.1% and Lord & Taylor declining 1.3%.
  • Total sales of C$2.407 billion ($2.180 billion), a 73.7% increase from C$1.386 billion ($1.255 billion). The jump is primarily due to the inclusion of Saks in Q4 totals.
  • Net income was C$29.1 million ($26.4 million), compared with a net income of C$86.8 million ($78.6 million) in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Web sales accounted for 10.5% of total sales in the fourth quarter compared with 4.2% in the same period last year.

For the 2013 fiscal year ended Feb. 1, Hudson’s Bay reported:

  • E-commerce sales of C$369.6 million ($334.8 million), including Saks web sales for the fourth quarter only. The retailer did not break out web sales by brand, but said Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay web sales grew approximately 54% from fiscal 2012.
  • Comparable-store sales grew 5.4%, with an increase of 6.2% at Hudson’s Bay and a 0.7% decrease at Lord & Taylor.
  • Total sales of C$5.223 billion ($4.731 billion), a 28.1% increase from C$4.077 billion ($3.692 billion) in 2012.
  • Net loss was C$258.1 million ($233.8 million), compared with a net loss of C$35.1 million ($31.8 million) in fiscal 2012.

Web sales accounted for 7.1% of total sales in 2013 compared with 3.4% in 2012.

As Hudson’s Bay Co., propelled by Sak’s Inc.’s substantial web sales, moves forward with its digital investments, it may soon become one of the top 10 online apparel retailers in the world, according to an analysis of sales numbers from the database. 





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