Matalan considers e-mail marketing

Matalan is considering sending e-mails and text messages to its shoppers to inform them of special offers and other events.

The discount retailer has a database of 8.6 million members who each pay a one-off fee of £1 to join in order to shop at the stores. Paul Mason, Matalan's chief executive, believes the company can make better marketing use of this information rather than relying on leaflets and other mail-outs. It is believed to be the first UK retailer to consider such a course.

But analysts believe the idea could annoy as many customers as it attracts. "Whether people really want to be bombarded with marketing blurb on mobile phones or computers must be open to question," one said.

Announcing better-than-expected trading figures alongside Matalan's half-year results, Mr Mason confirmed plans to double the group's trading space in London over the next two years. He also reiterated a five-year aim to double the number of UK stores from 155.

The comments came as Matalan announced pre-tax profits in the six months to 31 August were up 9 per cent to £53.6m. There was encouraging news on current trading with like-for-like sales in the seven weeks from 1 September up 8.9 per cent on last year.

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