“All the camping categories performed very strongly. And you don’t just buy a tent, there are a number of other things you have to buy to make that all work,” Mr Heraghty said.
At the company’s sports retailer Rebel, like-for-likes sales jumped 17 per cent in the six months to December, while the number of customers buying their sporting goods online increased by 102 per cent.
Mr Heraghty said the pandemic had shown clearly that “online [retail] is no longer just a side project, it’s the main game”.
JB Hi-Fi chief executive Richard Murray said shoppers appeared to be more “mission focused” in the age of COVID-19, and the ongoing trend towards work-from-home would help sustain the company’s sales.
“I think more people will say ‘I want to basically duplicate my office environment at home,'” he said.
Solomon Lew’s Premier Investments, which operates the Smiggle and Peter Alexander brands, hit record share price highs last week when it also revealed an uptick in online sales will push its earnings 85 per cent higher over the past six months.
Paul Zahra, chief executive of the Australian Retailers Association, said strong trading updates were encouraging, but warned coronavirus was set to impact retails for some time.
“Australian households have a lot to be positive about especially when they see images of how COVID-19 has devastated other countries around the world and this is having a positive impact on consumer confidence,” Mr Zahra said.
“Even with a vaccine in place, we are likely to live with the virus for some time – albeit at a reduced level, so some of the existing challenges will remain.”