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Debenhams, Burberry, Mothercare: what retailers do to thrive at a time of low online growth

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In today’s Internet Retailing newsletter, we consider the news that online sales grew at their slowest-ever rate in the first quarter of 2015. In not one of the three months of the quarter, from January to March, says etail trade association the IMRG, did sales grow by more than 9%. What growth there was came from mobile commerce.

It’s not yet clear whether that rate of growth is here to stay in a more mature ecommerce market, or whether it’s a temporary post-Christmas blip at a time when consumers have less spare cash. But what’s clear from the other stories in today’s newsletter, is that individual retailers can still grow far faster than the average – but that doing so takes skill and a real focus on the way that shoppers want to buy. Debenhams, for example, this reported online sales up by 12.7% in its latest half-year, while Burberry, reporting a rise in its sales, said digital had outperformed, and Mothercare, which not so long ago was reporting falling online sales, showed a 31.8% leap in in the final quarter of its year. It’s telling that mobile sales grew particularly quickly in that time. Read the stories to find out in more detail just how these IRUK 500 retailers did it.

At a time when growth is hard to come by, every source of sales is important. That’s why the European Commission investigation into whether Google advantages retailers that advertise on its own shopping comparison service is important – and we report on that today.

Finally, today’s guest comment comes from Dan Garner of On Tap who considers how retailers can best use visual merchandising to show off products.

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