BERLIN, March 28 Otto, Germany's second-biggest
e-commerce company after Amazon, reported comparable
sales rose 5 percent in its 2016/17 fiscal year, driven by
online furniture and fashion and strong growth at its Hermes
logistics arm in Britain.
Headline sales rose 3.4 percent to 12.5 billion euros
($13.6 billion) in 2016/17, but increased by 5 percent on a
comparable basis after stripping out the impact of disposals,
including French e-commerce firm 3SI.
Many big furniture chains were slow to embrace e-commerce,
put off by the cost of delivering bulky goods and concerned
whether shoppers would be prepared to make expensive purchases
without seeing them in person.
But online furniture sales are now growing quickly,
prompting Swedish budget retailer IKEA to invest in online
shopping and experiment with pick-up points and smaller shops.
The Otto Group, a family-owned mail order firm founded in
1949 which shifted into e-commerce and now runs more than 100
webshops worldwide, said in a statement on Tuesday its online
sales rose 10 percent to 7 billion euros in the fiscal year to
Otto's logistics business Hermes, which competes with
players like Deutsche Post and Royal Mail,
saw turnover rise 5 percent to 1.57 billion euros, but increase
by more than 11 percent taking into account the impact of a
weaker sterling after Britain voted to leave the European Union.
Otto's biggest business, the OTTO site in Germany, saw sales
rise 6 percent to 2.72 billion euros, helped by sales of
furniture. Otto's U.S. home furnishings site Crate and Barrel
saw sales rise 10.7 percent to 1.48 billion after it overhauled
ranges under new management.
($1 = 0.9211 euros)
(Reporting by Emma Thomasson; Editing by Maria Sheahan and Mark