Online retail news in brief (11 April 2018)


In case you missed them, we’ve pulled together a few online retail news highlights from around the web this week.

Here are some of the latest stories in online retail.


Faster mobile browsing on the way

5G mobile internet is a little closer, after Ofcom sold the 3.4GHz spectrum band, which will be an important element of 5G capacity.

EE, Three, Vodaphone, and O2 won the right to use the bandwidth, in an auction that raised £1.36bn.

Significant though this step is, 5G isn’t expected to be widely available until 2020.

Nocturnal deliveries in demand

In what is being dubbed the ‘vampire economy’, night time shopping and delivery appear to be on the rise.

A study by ParcelHero has found that 1 in 10 shoppers are still browsing and purchasing by 3am, and 1 in 5 shoppers want pharmacy deliveries in the early hours of the morning.

David Jinks, ParcelHero Head of Consumer Research: “Most couriers offer standard overnight courier delivery. That means parcels are driven through the night to be at a local distribution centre ready for final delivery from 8am. There’s no reason why some of these journeys can’t link up with the ‘last mile’ delivery to customers, rather than then be held waiting in the warehouse.”

Booze is leading FMCG category. Still.

IRi’s latest Top Categories Special Report has found that Alcohol remains the UK’s most valuable FMCG category, worth £16.1 bn in 2017.

Within that 4.4% year-on-year growth the study also found that:

  • Sparkling wine grew 10%
  • Spirits saw 5% growth
  • Gin enjoyed 24% year-on-year growth

Worst March on record for High Street

March 2018  saw the worst high street sales since the 2008 financial crash, according to BDO’s High Street Sales tracker.

Year-on-year sales fell 10.1%. Homeware suffered the worst, with a 13.1% slump in sales. Fashion suffered significantly at -12.7%.

For a view of the latest online sales figures, download the IMRG Online Retail Sales Index.

And for a touch more worry …

34% of short positions made against retail

Data from Linklaters has revealed that over a third of short investments (betting that a share price will drop) in 2018 have been against retail.

Restructuring partner at Linklaters, Richard Hodgson: “Given the cyclical nature of retail and consumer, it’s no surprise that consumer companies have consistently been most shorted, but the sheer volume of short position reporting gives a clear indication for how things might develop in the sector in the coming months.”

Constant discounting harming profits

Over half of retailers report that discount culture is adversely affecting profits, according to a survey from Klarna.

It’s not only retailers who have a complicated relationship with sales. The survey also suggested that 28% of shoppers find sales too stressful, so avoid them.

Luke Griffiths, Managing Director, Klarna: “Discounting can be a significant source of stress for retailers of all sizes – from the impact on profits to the operational difficulties that come with managing sales activity. Many merchants will discount to shift unwanted stock, so part of the solution is to make better, more educated purchasing decisions.”

IMRG Strategy and Insight Director Andy Mulcahy: “In recent years, events such as Black Friday have instilled in shoppers’ minds the idea that there are times of year when desirable product ranges – as distinct from the excess stock that is typically reduced to clear during seasonal sales periods – will have their prices slashed. The impact of this was particularly apparent in October 2017, when heavy discounts were already available across multiple retailers, as they tried to stimulate activity among shoppers who were holding out for Black Friday.”

Finally revealed: UK’s favourite Spice Girl

YouGov has conducted research to find the most popular member of the most popular girl band.

Of the Spice Girls, Baby Spice (Emma Bunton) has been established as a firm favourite, with 37% of the popular vote.

Not only that, the survey revealed the profiles of those who favour each member of the quintet.  Scary Spice (Melanie Brown) attracts feminists, and Ginger Spice’s (Geri Halliwell) fanbase are primarily men.

Spice Girls


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