Online retail news in brief (8 August 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.


Heatwave burns July footfall on the high street

UK shoppers have traded in the high street for greener (or, more accurately at the moment, yellower) pastures it would seem, as July’s scorching weather saw a 10.8% plunge in footfall on the high street compared to the same month in 2017.

This is according to the monthly Retail Traffic Index, compiled by Ipsos Retail Performance, which also found that London and the South East posted the poorest regional performance – down 15.9% year-on-year.

Dr Tim Denison, Retail Intelligence Director, Ipsos: ‘We had expected the recovery to continue, but any feel-good factor from the hot weather and summer of sport failed to materialise on the high street. With the base rate hike, subdued pay awards and consumer confidence languishing, retail spending is unlikely to get any stronger for the remainder of this year.’

High street sales drop for 6th month in a row

While Britons flooded bars and supermarkets in July to do justice to a tantalising World Cup and an impenetrable heatwave, the high street was given the cold shoulder.

The BDO High Street Sales Tracker has reported a 1.1% decline in bricks-and-mortar sales year-on-year for the month of July, which extends the slump in in-store growth to a sixth month.

Sophie Michael, Head of Retail, BDO: ‘While temperatures may have been rising, retailers are being frozen out. Concerns overs personal finances and the general economic outlook has had a downward drag on consumer confidence. Summer is proving to be something of a disaster for shops and, with a poor first six months, the pressure is on for retailers to do all they can do to mitigate the impact of 2018 being an unprecedentedly tough year.’

eCommerce drives Royal Mail deliveries to the US

The past year has seen the UK send an unmatched number of business parcels across the pond, as it was revealed this week that Britain ranked first in business deliveries to the US.

France and Germany were close behind in second and third place respectively, with UK imports predominantly coming from China.

The news comes on the back of Royal Mail’s key digital enhancements to its tracked services, including an email detailing the neighbour which the package has been left with, and electronic ‘we missed you’ cards replacing their paper counterparts.

Delivery security a ‘key consideration’ for shoppers

40% of UK shoppers consider deliveries being left in a secure environment to be vital when making an online purchase, according to new research from Sorted.

Despite this, the study found that 60% of retailers allow their carriers to leave goods in unsecure locations, and while more than half of retailers track deliveries at multiple touchpoints, only 3 in 10 provide the option to request an alternative delivery location in the event of an unsuccessful drop-off.

Andrew Hill, Sales Director, Sorted: ‘With Amazon Key making headlines, consumers want new ways to accept or authenticate orders. Indeed, our latest research shows one in 10 shoppers want biometrics instead of having to sign for parcels, as well as assurances their order will be left in a secured location.’

Superstores moving towards greener policies

UK supermarkets were in the news this week for their move towards becoming green grocers.

Morrisons have announced plans to remove the plastic wrapping from UK-sourced cucumbers, in an effort to increase their war on plastic. While plastic will still be used on imported cucumbers, and environmental activists have commented on the likelihood of an increase in food waste, Morrisons have said they’re responding to their customers. Richard Hatherly, Salads Buying Manager, Morrisons: ‘We’ve listened to customers’ concerns and we are doing what we can to remove plastic packaging. While plastic can serve a purpose, we believe this move will remove it from the environment without leading to food waste.’

Tesco have also launched their latest offensive against plastic: water sold in aluminium cans, as opposed to plastic bottles. The CanO water range was launched on 30th July and is now stocked in 700 Tesco stores across the country. Ariel Brooker, Co-Founder, CanO: ‘Aluminium cans have the highest recycling rate of any product out there and a recycled can could be back on the shelf as another one in just 60 days.’

However, Sainsbury’s has trumped the table, after being crowned the UK’s greenest supermarket. This is according to research from Engaged Tracking, which has found that Sainsbury’s emits the lowest number of greenhouse gases out of the UK’s largest grocers. Sam Gill, Chief Executive, Engaged Tracking: ‘In implementing eco-friendly policies – driven by a desire to attract customers and investors who increasingly appreciate and demand them – companies like Sainsbury’s are changing the game.’

Woman in serious relationship with ghost

A woman opened up the dating pool in quite considerable fashion this week, after she revealed it was possible to undergo romantic affairs with the choir invisible.

Amethyst Realm met her ethereal lover on holiday in Australia, who made the choice to uproot himself from his usual haunt and relocate to her house in the UK.

The couple have recently been discussing the option of having children. While physically possible, Realm claims the psychological comprehension of an other-worldly conception to be the current obstacle. This is perhaps a bittersweet barrier, as one can only imagine the logistics of childcare for an immaterial youth to be frankly ghoulish.

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