About 80% of Hudson's Bay's flagship in-store merchandise will be available on its website by the end of this year, according to company president Liz Rodbell. Even more impressively, its website will offer a wider variety of sizes and colours than those available in-store. Hudson's Bay expects that more than 10% of its total revenues will come from online sales within the next four years, up from 3.5% this year. Despite these gains, Canada's Hudson's Bay website lags behind parent Hudson's Bay Company's (HBC) online initiatives in the United States.
The online-focussed strategy will see the company's website become a destination unto itself, considering the increased trend towards online shopping. Men's 'big-and-tall' clothing, for example, will only be available on Hudson's Bay's website. Hudson's Bay already carries a considerable amount of product online, from relatively inexpensive items to luxury goods, priced into the thousands.
Merchandise from women's luxury department The Room, for example, is prominently displayed with its own website link. A limited selection of designers and products are listed, and those available are pricey. A Roland Mouret dress, priced at $3,830, is the most expensive clothing item. A $1,415 crystal-encrusted Casadei shoe is available, along with a variety of other pricey footwear. There are handbags priced into the thousands, including a $3,250 Proenza Schouler PS11 Classic handbag. Last year, a similar bag on the website cost over $8,000, which isn't surprising, considering that The Room carries some of Canada's most expensive clothing and accessories.
Kleinfeld Bridal, operating on the seventh floor of Hudson's Bay's Toronto flagship, also offers product on the website. Gowns featured in-store are priced between $1,400 and $32,000. Prices aren't listed on the website, however, and gowns must be tried on and altered in the store.
TopShop and TopMan merchandise featured on the site is priced lower than in the United States, even with the weaker Canadian dollar. This is because Hudson's Bay has an agreement with the British fast-fashion brand to keep Canadian prices lower.
Online sales account for 11% of all revenue for parent company HBC, which includes American retailers Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor. HBC's online sales reached $207 million last quarter, according to CEO Richard Baker. The company hopes to raise online sales to 20% over the next five years. Americans are generally more receptive to online shopping, according to company president Liz Rodbell, who presented at yesterday's Store Conference 2014 in Toronto.