Online retail news in brief (25 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.

Weather hurts physical retail in March

March retail sales slumped more than expected, according to the ONS.

The -1.2% decline was double the expected -0.6%, and the cold weather seems to be to blame. With that in mind, once petrol sales are removed from the equation, retail growth is -0.5%.

650 shops shut or at risk in 2018

The BBC’s Wake Up to Money programme has published analysis indicating that 650 shops or restaurants belonging to major chains have either shut, or face the risk of closing, in 2018. Toy R Us and Maplin stores account for half of that figure.

The BBC reports that cities have suffered the most, though towns are experiencing similar changes. 1 in 5 shops in Doncaster, for example, is vacant.

Shop closure graph

Meanwhile, online…

Early Easter Rounds Out Quarter of Storming Growth for Online Retail

As the high street reported the steepest year-on-year drop in footfall since 2010, UK online retail sales grew by a storming +18.9% year-on-year (YoY) in March, according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. Marking the highest year-on-year growth since November 2016, March’s results round out a hugely successful first quarter, which saw average growth perform well above the 2018 forecast (+15.4% vs. +9%).

A number of key factors helped drive the month’s online sales – starting with the continued cold weather from the ’beast from the east’, and ending with the early Easter bank holiday. Far more significant of the two, weekly analysis showed that growth doubled in the final week over Easter – surging from a steady +13% to +27%.

And into April…

Heatwave helps high street

Thursday 19 April was the hottest April day in the UK for 70 years, and last week’s heatwave seems to have driven people to the shops.

  • Waitrose reported a 400% rise in sun cream sales, and 270% rise in barbeque food
  • Argos saw a 150% boost in sales of garden seating
  • High street footfall to fashion retailers jumped by 15%.

Meanwhile online, ASOS reported selling 16,000 pairs of sunglasses over four days.

Royal Baby to stimulate economy?

With the birth this week of the (at time of writing) unnamed princeling, speculation begins as to his effect on the British economy.

Brand Finance has been willing to put out a figure, and forecast that before his first birthday, the new prince will have boosted the UK’s economy by £50m.

Chief executive David Haigh: "The birth of the new prince is also a tremendous marketing opportunity for British producers and retailers of baby products who can reference the royal baby in their promotional campaigns."

Cash not disappearing yet

Cash in circulation relative to GDP has increased 9.6% across all continents, according to G4S’s World Cash Report.

80% of European point of sales transactions are made with cash, though the figure in North America is much lower, at 31%.

Jesus Rosano, chief executive of G4S’s global cash division, attributed the continued popularity of cash to its availability, invulnerability to hacking, and non-reliance on electronic power.

Shoppers willing to pay more for British goods

The campaign Make it British has polled shoppers in the UK, and suggested that 93% of shoppers would be willing to pay more for British-made goods.

That figure is 43% higher than it was five years ago.

The group also claims that 50% more shoppers have been trying to buy more British goods since the Brexit referendum.

Amazon Prime boasts 100m members

In a letter to Amazon shareholders, Jeff Bezos has revealed that Amazon Prime now counts over 100m memberships.

Prime is out-performing expectations, as analysts predicted 90m subscribers by this point.

Bezos also stated that Amazon Prime shipped over 5bn items in 2017.

Former Vice Presidential candidate’s Instragram product endorsement

For high profile public servants, life after politics means generous advances for memoirs, lucrative after dinner speaking engagements, and perhaps through the revolving door back into the private sector.

The less successful may consider shilling products on Instagram, as the former Governor of Alaska seems to have done.

Sarah Palin Instagram

Best practice dictates that sponsored content should be marked with #ad or #spon, which Palin did not use in her post.


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