However, pre-tax profits slumped from £1billion to £825million amid mounting Covid-related costs.
In a statement, the company said: “These urban fulfilment centres will enable us to provide access to more delivery slots for customers with an increased rate of picking – a scalable, efficient option to fulfil ongoing online demand.”
But Ken Murphy, the company’s CEO, reiterated that stores “will continue to be the backbone of our business”.
While essential retailers enjoyed a boom during the lockdown, it was still doom and gloom for UK retail as a whole.
According to the ONS, total UK retail sales volumes in 2020 fell by 1.9 percent compared with 2019, marking the largest annual fall on record.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) chief executive Helen Dickinson labelled 2020 as the “worst year on record” for retail sales growth.
And Centre for Retail Research director Professor Joshua Bamfield said there were around 14,809 permanent retail store closures in the UK between March 2020 and February 2021.
READ MORE: Tesco unmasked: ‘Psychological trick’ gets Britons to ‘throw their money away’ in store
H&M is set to close 250 stores globally this year, Thorntons is shutting down all of its standalone shops to focus on its e-commerce operations and ASOS has snapped Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridge to sell online.
BRC business and regulation director Tom Ironside told Retail Gazette: “It has been an extremely challenging year for retail, and with several large retailers very sadly no longer in business, this is evidence of the extremely tough trading environment.
“Enforced closures during lockdowns have cost stores over £22billion in lost sales, and footfall has remained significantly down throughout the past year.”
This article originally appeared on Daily Express :: Life and Style Feed