B&M has appointed a new digital director as the retailer’s delayed plans to venture into online retail start to progress.
The company has appointed Jens Sorensen, who was formerly The Range’s chief digital & omnichannel officer, as its new digital director. Jens served as the head of multichannel & eCommerce at The Range until 2019, when he was promoted to chief digital and & omnichannel officer.
B&M had initially planned to move into eCommerce at the start of last year, and the appointment is thought to indicate that a move towards a multi channel strategy is now underway. B&M does not currently sell online, although it has been considering doing so. Although the company has focused efforts on its stores during the pandemic, which have been permitted to trade as they have ‘essential retail’ status, the company has faced stiff competition from a host of online rivals. It has also seen value rival Poundland successfully launch an online delivery service due to customer demand.
It is expected that B&M will only offer selected categories online, with smaller and lower-margin items continuing to be available only in B&M stores. It has been suggested that this would include the company’s toy range, as well as groceries and some homewares. B&M executives have reportedly expressed concern that selling such categories online would not necessarily improve the company’s business model, firstly because it may impact sales made in B&M stores, and also because it would create a greater margin challenge. With this in mind, the company is carefully fine tuning this balance, in order to offer greater choice and convenience for customers while continuing to maximise profitability.
The retailer’s pre-tax profit more than doubled to £254m in the 26 weeks to September 26th, 2020, and like-for-like sales in its core UK business surged just over 21% over the Christmas trading period.