Fat Face invests in eCommerce with US expansion on horizon

High street fashion retailer Fat Face is targeting further growth online underpinned by a cloud-based eCommerce platform from tech vendor NetSuite.

The business re-launched its website last summer in time for the busy peak period, and after an encouraging festive season the business is casting its eyes towards the US market in 2015.

To position itself for international growth, Fat Face was keen to get a flexible, cloud-based platform in place, and it said this week that it has confidence in its partnership with the California-headquartered NetSuite.

Potential expansion abroad comes after a recently-reported jump in its UK web business, with online sales for the five weeks to 3 January 2015 growing by 25% year on year, and click & collect orders peaking at 42% of total online orders during the period.

It is UK consumers' increasingly willingness to shop on the move and look for convenience that has helped fuel the growth of click & collect across the retail industry, and one further reason for Fat Face's investment in NetSuite's responsive web technology has been to give its shoppers an optimised mobile experience when they want to order items away from their desktops or laptops.

Paul Wright, head of eCommerce and marketing at Fat Face, said: "We wanted a website that created a seamless experience of Fat Face for our customers regardless of channel, be it offline or online.

"With our customers increasingly using mobile to visit the Fat Face website, we had to respond to their needs by creating an online experience that was consistent regardless of the device they were using."

Wright added that working with NetSuite and its cloud-based platform has given the company the "flexibility" it requires to grow the business, saying: "This becomes particularly important as we are planning to expand into the US, and [we are] working with NetSuite to have a new website ready later this year."

Fat Face now operates 212 stores across the UK. Its half-year covering the 26 weeks to 29 November 2014 resulted in sales of £99 million and total EBITDA of £19.2 million – down £0.4 million on the year before.

The retailer's eCommerce sales for the half-year period were up 11% on 2013, representing 16% of overall sales.

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