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Current as of 28/11/14 07:40AM NZST

Christopher Adams

The Business Herald’s markets and banking reporter.

Kathmandu heads deeper online with new site

Kathmandu says online sales have increased 55pc in the past year,  contributing 4pc of revenue. Photo / Natalie Slade
Kathmandu says online sales have increased 55pc in the past year, contributing 4pc of revenue. Photo / Natalie Slade

Kathmandu has revealed new details of its strategy for addressing a shift towards internet retailing.

The outdoor clothing and equipment retailer has launched a new mobile website, which it says will be more convenient for customers browsing its online store on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet computers.

"The mobile site makes navigating and searching for information far more convenient, with less tapping, clicking and scrolling when using mobile devices," Kathmandu said.

And the company, which operates more than 130 "bricks-and-mortar" stores on both sides of the Tasman and Britain, says it's in the process of developing additional online initiatives such as international shipping, mobile apps and services such as "click and collect", where customers can buy a product online, then pick it up from a store.

The retailer said last month that online sales had grown by 55 per cent in the year to July 31 and contributed 4 per cent of total revenue.

That would equate to around $15.4 million of Kathmandu's $384 million total sales figure in its last financial year.

The company estimates that 20 per cent of its online sales are likely to come from mobile devices.

Chief executive Peter Halkett said the new mobile site reflected Kathmandu's continuing investment in its online business.

"We know that there is a big move away from desktops towards the use of smartphones and mobile devices for shopping and pre-shopping and if we can make it easier to search and to shop that is likely to deliver increased sales," Halkett said.

He said the 4 per cent of Kathmandu's total sales currently generated online was "only the tip of the iceberg".

"We want to give customers the best platform to shop online," Halkett said.

Market research firm Nielsen's latest online retail report found 45 per cent of the 1.8 million New Zealand online shoppers used mobile devices to browse for goods and services on the internet, while 26 per cent had made an online purchase on their device.

Of the shoppers, 288,000 used smartphones and 239,000 used a tablet computer, the report said.

Almost 6 per cent of total New Zealand retail sales were made online last year, up from 5.1 per cent in 2011, according to research by PwC and Frost & Sullivan, which also found the average Kiwi spent $1659 online in 2012.

Shares in Kathmandu - which have been the second-best performing on the NZX-50 this year, gaining more than 90 per cent - were down 3c at $3.52 in early trading.

The company reported a 26.6 per cent lift in net profit to $44.2 million in the 12 months to July 31.

- NZ Herald

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