Doddle: Growth, Costs & Investor News

Doddle BrixtonDoddle report that over the Christmas peak their total parcel collection volumes experienced 1217% growth on the same period in 2014. Their total parcel volume for 2015 peaked at over 415,000.

Since December 2014, Doddle have grown from 26 stores to 45 stores. Their busiest day was Monday 21 December and during Doddle’s busiest trading hours, a customer collected a parcel from a Doddle store every four seconds.

Volumes for items being returned at a Doddle store peaked on Monday 4 January, 140% higher compared to an average trading day in September and membership growth continued over the peak growing 53% between October and January from 85,000 to 130,000.

It turns out that around 40% of the UK used click an collect at least once over the Christmas period. That’s not really surprising with the likes of Argos, but many of my friends now don’t go shopping until they know that the product they want is in stock. It’s a lot easier to order or at least reserve online and simply go to collect your items rather than take pot luck that they’ll be in stock. 35% of all John Lewis online orders were collected from a Waitrose store.

Doddle remains an interesting proposition. They offer convenience to those who are passing a Doddle store, but their volumes are still so low that they’re not really making a dent in the carrier market. Plus of course they don’t steal volumes from carriers as items still have to be delivered into Doddle stores.

In 2016 it’ll be interesting to watch to see if they attract growth to match the investment that they’ve made. It isn’t cheap to rent retail space at mainline stations, fit the Doddle stores out and then pay for staffing, especially for stores that are open from 7 in the morning until 8 at night.

We don’t know Doddle’s revenues, but 415,000 multiplied by their standard collection charge of £1.95 (retailers probably get a better deal) gives a revenue of £809,250. Add in some returns and monthly subscriptions from frequent users and revenues can’t be much over a million in comparison to the initial £24 million investment they had at launch.

According to the Sunday Times, Network Rail have called it a day on Doddle due to their own restructuring. They sold their 44% stake to the other major investor, Lloyd Dorfman who now owns 90% of Doddle, but Doddle will be looking for new investor partners in 2016, with the aim to open 300 more stores by 2017.

Not all new stores will be at commuter heavy railway stations however. Universities and shopping centres have proved rich pickings so Doddle may never arrive at a train station near year, they may end up opening somewhere more convenient for your needs.