Apr 6 2011 By Neil Hodgson
BIRKENHEAD hampers to financial services firm Park has broken through the £100m online trading barrier.
It said customers of its Christmas savings division, including hampers, vouchers and gift products, displayed an increasing appetite for online transactions in the year to March 31. Full results are due on June 14.
Online turnover from the Christmas-focused business was more than £100m, which compares with a total turnover last year of £263.2m.
Group managing director Chris Houghton said at the time of last June’s results announcement that online trading was an area the group viewed as ripe for development.
He said at the time: "A feature of recent years has been the development of the internet and the way in which management has grasped its potential to drive the growth and expansion of Park.
"The impact and influence of the internet has been enormous, and has led to product innovation as well as much more efficient communication with all our stakeholders."
He added: "In the last three years, the percentage of orders booked via the web has grown from 25% to 40%. Allowing customers to self-serve not only saves time and money, but has also enabled Park to make significant cost savings on telephone and postal communication."
Yesterday’s trading update, ahead of the results announcement, said Park will report "positive" trading in line with expectations.
And Christmas savings orders for the 2011 festive season are already 5% better than the same period last year after the acquisition of an Irish hampers business last October, which enabled Park to launch its voucher business in the Republic of Ireland this year.
Meanwhile, Park’s corporate voucher and prepaid card sales, used by many firms for staff incentive schemes, have remained strong and added to their client portfolio.
In May last year, the group launched its pre-paid Flexecash card. It said it remains a small part of the business, but said demand has been growing rapidly and its performance has exceeded the board’s expectations. Three hundred corporate clients have signed up, and 24 retailers accept the card.