The Range logs another pleasing double-digit growth in sales for the year, with revenues of £761.3m. It benefits from 16 store openings during the period and its focus on price appeals to more constrained shoppers. This expansion has continued into its financial year 2017/18 as the value general merchandiser has opened a further 14 stores to date, working towards an ambitious target of 600 UK stores.
To facilitate this expansion, The Range is branching away from its big-box format to more centralised, smaller locations on high streets and in shopping centres, such as the former BHS store on Surrey Quays and in Tunbridge Wells. Considering founder Chris Dawson recently stated that The Range is the ‘working man’s John Lewis’, this change in store format will help the retailer disassociate itself from value discounters, such as Poundland.
However, the high street stores will require a more nuanced approach to draw in more affluent shoppers, with a curated range, enhanced customer service, and an improved store environment. The Range also needs to improve integration of its online transactional website and all of its stores to increase online penetration (5.9% versus Wilko’s 7.6%), in addition to providing more innovative solutions (such as click-and-collect). As well as driving footfall into stores and create impulse purchases, this would press home its advantage over B&M, whose site is non-transactional.
The Range must also invest in existing stores and not rely too heavily on expansion. Sales per store fell 2.9% over the period. This underperforms its closest competitors Wilko and B&M, which are also both expanding, where sales per store were -0.3% and 4.8% respectively. Quick wins from its high street stores should therefore be rolled out across its portfolio to improve store environment.
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