* Otto online sales up 7.6 pct to 6 bln euros in 2013/14
* German e-commerce grew 12 pct in 2013 to 33 bln euros
* Otto squeezed by Amazon, Zalando
* Investing 300 mln euros to boost online sales
BERLIN, March 6 Germany's Otto,
Europe's second biggest e-commerce player, is investing in its
mobile platform and plans to launch a new fashion website as it
fights to keep pace with the rapid expansion of Amazon.
The Otto Group, a mail order firm founded in 1949 which made
the shift into e-commerce and now runs more than 60 websites
worldwide including Germany's OTTO site, said online sales rose
7.6 percent to 6 billion euros ($8.24 billion) in 2013/14.
Otto is facing stiff competition in its home market from
Amazon, which saw German sales grow 21 percent to $10.5 billion
in 2013, and online fashion retailer Zalando, which increased
annual sales by 52 percent to 1.76 billion euros.
Otto's online sales in Germany grew 7.8 percent to 4 billion
euros in the financial year to Feb. 28, slower than the average
for all e-commerce, which grew 12 percent in 2013 to 33.1
billion euros, according to the German Retail Federation (HDE).
Otto is targeting group sales of 8 billion euros by 2015 and
is investing 300 million euros in its online business to that
end, including in new software for the OTTO website, mobile
payments firm Yapital and other start-ups in e-commerce.
It will launch a new online "ecosystem" for young
fashion-conscious women with several special shops and is
working on a company-wide "mobile-first" initiative, hoping to
drive 50 percent of traffic onto smartphones and tablets by
Otto currently appeals to an older market than Zalando and
Britain-based online retailer ASOS Plc, which targets
fashion-conscious 20-somethings. Zalando, whose biggest investor
is Sweden's Kinnevik, is considering a possible
floatation this year.
Otto noted that every other German already owns a smartphone
and one in five uses a tablet, with some of its online stores
already seeing 40 percent of visits on mobile devices.
"Smartphones and tablets enable a highly personalised,
impulse driven shopping experience that is increasingly demanded
by consumers," Rainer Hillebrand, deputy chairman of Otto Group,
said in a statement.