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SSI Group expands e-commerce presence

/ 05:22 AM November 04, 2020

Leading specialty retailer SSI Group Inc. seeks to future-proof its business and ride on the e-commerce boom—especially catalyzed by the lockdowns prompted by the coronavirus pandemic this year—with the launch of a new digital platform for over 100 of its lifestyle and luxury brands.

The launch of Trunc.ph on Nov. 6 forms part of SSI’s goal to scale up retail sales from digital channels to 15-20 percent of its total business in three years, SSI president Anton Huang said at a briefing on Tuesday.

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E-commerce sales accounted for 5 percent of SSI’s total sales in the first nine months of this year as online sales surged by 300 percent. In the third quarter alone, the share of online sales rose to 8 percent of SSI’s total turnover.

Trunc.ph is seen to bring in big-ticket sales from brands that cater to affluent consumers such as Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Alexander McQueen, Loewe, Burberry, Ferragamo, Jimmy Choo, Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Muji, Lush, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein Jeans and Lacoste.

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“The way we see retail in the future is that e-commerce and physical retail are one and the same. It’s part of the chain, part of the cycle, part of the inventory … We’re giving our consumers options in terms of the way they want to shop in our stores and for our merchandise, be it physi­cally, digitally or a combination of both,” Huang said.

With the shutdown of its stores from March 15 to end of May this year—as the government put Metro Manila and other key regions under quarantine—SSI’s sales fell by about 50 percent. Since the reopening of the economy, however, it has reported a steady sales growth week by week.

For some brands, sales for the month of October have even exceeded their sales from year-ago levels, Huang said. “We’re seeing a nice uptick in sales and hoping that this continues as the economy opens up,” he said.

As far as market segments are concerned, the pandemic has gnawed more on the mass-based brands as the current economic recession translated to record-high job losses and reduction in consumers’ purchasing power. However, Huang said the upper-middle to the upscale brands have driven the steady recovery of sales.

This year, the lockdowns took off a big chunk of SSI’s seasonal sales in the second and third quarters. During normal teams, retail sales would usually surge during the period due to the summer vacation, followed by the back-to-school season.

At the very least, Huang said “we’re seeing some light a the end of the tunnel.”

To date, SSI has reopened 99 percent of its nationwide store network while the rest will reopen within this month. The retailer counts on its over 1.7 million customers to support Trunc.ph.

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Pricing of merchandise goods sold through this new platform will track the pricing structure at the physical stores. Delivery to customers is expected within three to 15 days.

This multibrand marketplace is seen to complement SSI’s 10 existing brand-specific sites.

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TAGS: e-commerce, SSI Group Inc.
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