The CEO of Officeworks claims that selling online is not as profitable as selling goods in a store.Ward, who was speaking at the Retail World conference in

Melbourne, blamed “small” purchases for a fall in online profitability.

He said that while

online sales accounted for 13 percent of Officeworks’ sales, they generated

less than 10 percent online despite less staff and lower lease costs.

“We are selling more online than we ever were before…we are selling more units; we have more transactions going through our

entire business,” he said. “But we are selling them for less, as

basket sizes have come down because we have made life so convenient for the


“That’s not a bad thing, but it does have implications

for your profitability because your supply chain is under more pressure than

ever from selling more baskets, more often.”

Big W managing director Julie Coates said retailers needed

“resilience, patience and courage” to stick it out through the early

years of online selling, the Australian reported. 

“You’re setting yourself up for the future, not for

today, and you need to be in it now if you’re going to build and learn to

create the multi-option future for the customer,” she said.

Ms Coates said it was vital that any move into online be

integrated into the rest of the business, rather than run as a separate

division, so that both sides could benefit from the capabilities and resources

of the other.