Plus, Best Buy nearly triples U.S. ecommerce penetration, Urban Outfitters increases new shoppers and Casper’s wholesale business doubles.

Online sales at Kohl’s Corp. jumped 24% in the first fiscal quarter ended May 2 and accelerated more than 60% in the month of April as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold.

Kohl’s didn’t break out exact figures but said 45% of sales came from its online channels compared with 21% during the first quarter last year. In 2019, online sales accounted for 24% of Kohl’s overall revenue.

Overall sales were down for the quarter, falling 43.5% to $2.16 billion from $3.82 billion in Q1 2019. Gross margin shrank by half as increased online orders drove shipping costs up. Plus, Kohl’s put more products on clearance, further eating into its profit.

900 Kohl’s launched curbside pickup

On a bright note, Kohl’s launched curbside pickup in early April at 900 stores, helping to increase the number of orders fulfilled through stores. Online orders fulfilled by stores hit 40% for the quarter, compared with 35% during 2019. In areas where the service is offered, curbside pickup fulfilled 15% of online purchases. In fact, 15% of curbside orders is higher than the percent of Kohl’s buy online pick up in stores orders before the pandemic, CEO Michelle Gass said in a call with analysts according to a SeekingAlpha transcript.

Digital orders also remained high in areas where stores opened back up, Gass said. Traditionally, online sales have always been higher near store locations, with those sales only falling slightly as stores reopened across the country. Kohl’s has reopened about 50% of its stores so far.

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Kohl’s is seeing an increase in online mobile sales

During the quarter, customers completed 50% of online sales on mobile devices. More than 70% of the merchant’s online traffic comes from smartphones, including its 16 million app users. Overall online traffic, conversion rate and average order value increased for the quarter, but Kohl’s did not disclose exact figures.

Home goods proved strongest for digital sales, with Gass noting that sales were up 50% online for the quarter. However, online sales of apparel and footwear slowed down overall digital growth.

Kohl’s is No. 21 in the 2020 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000.

In other earnings news:

  • Electronics retailer Best Buy Co. Inc. (No. 10) grew U.S. online sales 155.0% during the first fiscal quarter ended May 2 to $3.34 billion from $1.31 billion a year ago. That growth came partially from its closed stores and Best Buy nearly tripling its online penetration, with ecommerce sales generating 42.2% of total sales, up from 15.4% the prior year. Total sales in the U.S. fell 6.6% to $7.92 billion from $8.48 billion a year before.
  • Apparel chain Urban Outfitters Inc. (No. 34) reported a 63% jump in new online customers during the past six weeks. For the first fiscal quarter ended April 30, Urban reported a “low double-digit” growth in online sales amid a 31.9% decrease in sales overall. Exact ecommerce figures were not disclosed, but total sales fell to $588.5 million from $864.4 million. Urban owns Anthropologie, Free People and subscription apparel service Nuuly, along with its namesake brand, but did not break out ecommerce revenue by brand. Online-only Nuuly generated $6.3 million in its first Q1.
  • Mattress brand Casper Sleep Inc. (No. 146) ended its first fiscal quarter on March 31 with a 12.8% year-over-year increase to $90.3 million in its direct-to-consumer business, which includes its ecommerce site and 59 stores. Its wholesale business also ramped up in the quarter, with sales to retailers jumping 142.9% year over year. Total sales increased 26.4% to $113.0 million from $89.4 million a year ago. Wholesale nearly doubled to 20.1% of total sales from 10.5% the year before as the company added more retail clients. It now offers mattresses through 20 retailers, compared to 11 a year ago. Direct sales remained strong despite the closure of all stores in April, according to the online mattress pioneer.
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