Online homeware retailer Cox and Cox has announced that its first quarter “proved a very strong period”, with net revenue soaring 167% in the period, while orders were up by 101% against the prior year.
Now in its 20th year of trading, the group said it has started the year well, noting “excellent” customer KPIs, further building on growth of 75% last year and putting its Frome-based homeware business in a “strong position” to continue performance throughout the year.
All departments traded up in the Q1 period, according to the group. Outdoor Living sales “started well ahead of the traditional selling period”, with the group adding that the trend for daily outdoor living is “here to stay”.
To reflect this shift, certain ranges were expanded with great success – including statement seating, outdoor rugs and textiles and shade and shelter solutions. Outdoor Furniture sales were up 292% YOY, while outdoor accessories were up 207% YOY.
Indoor Furniture also remained strong with sales up232% YOY, and some of the biggest uplifts were seen in stocked and made to order sofas, along with office desks and chairs as customers continue to work from home.
Nonetheless, the business was still impacted by the ongoing pandemic in the period, citing stock availability due to overperformance and global supply issues as the main problems to overcome.
It added that the pandemic continued to cause delays, with many overseas factories working at reduced capacity, as well as experiencing a shortage of many raw materials, leading to longer lead times.
Alongside a worldwide shortage of containers and vessels, delays at UK ports and the Suez blockage, the group said this led to an “unprecedented set of events causing stock challenges and increased shipping costs”.
CEO Richard Bell said: “We have absorbed the increasingly inflated shipping costs throughout rather than pass them on to our customers, and will continue to do so.
“Getting straight answers on expected delivery dates is proving challenging, and while there is frustratingly little that we or any other retailer can do to fix the problem, we are doing everything we can to review and improve options for our customers on a daily basis.”
He added that the group anticipates that Covid and a shortage of raw materials will continue to impact some product lead times, and that shipping and port delays will “remain an issue” for the next few months. In light of this, the group has placed orders with suppliers earlier than usual to reduce stock delays and improve in-stock position, building up stock levels in greater depth, and across more product lines.