The number of consumers shopping online at Lands' End and Next grew last year, helping to boost both retailers' e-commerce sales in 2017.

It’s almost inevitable that a growing customer base will result in more revenue, and two apparel retailers that reported yearly earnings this week both pointed to an expanding number of shoppers as one reason their online sales are growing.

  • Lands’ End Inc., No. 49 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500, reported its 2017 direct sales, which are mostly online, grew 7.4% to $1.23 billion. Internet Retailer estimates its online sales alone accounted for $1.18 billion of that, with web sales growing 9.3% over 2016. CEO Jerome Griffith also noted that fourth-quarter sales were boosted by new customers, with the company’s “buyer file” growing more than 10% last year.
  • Next Retail Ltd., an apparel retailer that is No. 15 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Europe 500, announced a 9.2% rise in online sales to 1.88 billion pounds for 2017, or $2.67 billion, at the time of publication. The company’s full-price online sales were up 11.2% for the year, helping to boost online profits 7.4% to 461.2 million pounds, despite an overall decline in operating profits across retail and online by 8.2%. Its active customer number, which measures how many shoppers the online store has seen in the last 20 weeks, was up 4% at the time of reporting to 4.9 million customers, with overseas active customers rising 10% to 940,000.