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EDITORIAL Bracing for the biggest online peak trading period yet

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In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter, we’re reporting as the latest figures suggest shoppers are buying early for Christmas – and retailers and delivery companies brace for the delivery pressures that’s likely to bring. 

The latest ONS Retail Sales report – for October – suggests that shoppers are starting to buy online for Christmas and to do so early. But the peak of spending lies ahead – and in a November when non-essential shops are closed in England, and, from tonight, in parts of Scotland, it’s likely much of that spending will take place online. We show in our Peak 2020 round-up how retailers are launching Black Friday discounts ahead of an expected peak in spending next Friday. But trading was already at peak levels earlier this has and has strained delivery companies that are no doubt coming under pressure now. 

The shift to online shopping has had a significant effect on Royal Mail, which is now making more money from parcels than from letters – but is seeing profitability fall at the same time as cost increase. This week it set out how innovations including Parcel Collect have proved popular with its users. 

Naked Wines and B&Q and Screwfix owner the Kingfisher Group also reported strong online sales over recent months as more customers opted to buy their products over the internet and, in the case of B&Q and Screwfix, via click and collect. The guidelines for the current English lockdown specifically encourage online fulfilment via click and collect and it will be interesting to see how retailers do make use of that over this period. 

In today’s guest comment, Simon Clifford of Cygnia Logistics considers the use of live-streaming in retail.

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