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EDITORIAL Amazon, ScS and Virgin Wines on challenging times

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In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting on some of the challenges that retailers are set to face this year.

Amazon says that it has faced almost two years of ‘constant’ peak trading. It has expanded fulfilment, while also adding more content to its Prime Video streaming service, and is now raising its subscription prices by more than 15% in the US. Publicis Sapient’s Julian Skelly suggests it’s only a matter of time before Prime subscription prices go up in other markets as well.

ScS says it’s working to head off delivery delays as orders return to pre-pandemic levels – amid continuing supply chain issues. Its order book now stands twice as high as it did two years ago, even though it took a similar number of orders in the first half of its financial year as it did in the same period two years ago – and it is now working with suppliers to avoid delivery delays.

And Virgin Wines has rowed back – slightly – on full-year sales and profit expectations as a result of “uncertain trading”. The wineseller said it had to bring forward its last pre-Christmas delivery date by two days – at an estimated cost of £800,000 – because of staff absences related to the Omicron Covid-19 variant.

Shoppers have started to venture out to stores more than they did in the run up to Christmas. The number of people visiting UK shopping centres was slightly higher in January than in December, but still more than a third lower than in pre-pandemic January 2020. The BRC says footfall will not return to pre-pandemic levels any time soon – and that presents multichannel and ecommerce retailers with opportunities as well as challenges.

Today we also report on how retailers and packaging companies can prepare now for the upcoming Plastic Packaging Tax that is set to be introduced on April 1.

In today’s guest comment, Alexander Graf of Spryker argues that B2B marketplaces will be a main driver of ecommerce growth in 2022.

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