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EDITORIAL CMA investigates green claims, Amazon sales slow – and retailers open more stores 

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting as online retailers report slowing or falling sales – and new figures suggest that retailers are opening more shops. We also report as the CMA investigates green claims in fashion, with a particular focus on Asos, Boohoo and George at Asda.

Both Amazon and Virgin Wines have reported figures this week. Amazon says is seeing sales growth slow – and it has reported a bottom line loss. The retailer technology company has lots of examples of how it is focusing on productivity, particularly in fulfilment, at a time when it’s still feeling the effects on inflation in its costs. It’s raising prices for its Prime members – but is confident that revenue will continue to grow as it adds more features to the service as well. 

Virgin Wines has reported its early figures in a trading update. It says that sales and earnings are lower than a year ago, but well above 2019 levels. This, it says, suggests that subscribers to its wine deliveries are staying loyal even after the pandemic lockdowns that boosted its business, and it’s confident of future growth. 

Retail developer and operator Hammerson says it’s seeing sales and visitor numbers at the stores in its shopping centres now approaching pre-pandemic levels of performance. It’s seen a recovery in its profits, compared to the loss it reported a year ago, but net rentals are still 1% down on the previous year. Interestingly, the business says more than half of its new leases are now to non-fashion businesses. That may be a reflection of the way that fashion sales have lately moved online, while other multichannel retail sectors make, as yet, fewer of their sales via the internet. 

We also report as the BRC and Local Data Company says that shop vacancies are falling, particularly in retail parks. However, they’re still well above pre-pandemic levels. 

The UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has launched an investigation into whether sustainable claims from three online retailers amount to little more than greenwashing

Its initial investigation is focused on Asos, Boohoo and George at Asda, but the CMA warns that it is looking more widely at the fashion sector – and others may also come under the microscope.. 

Finally, we report on how Frasers Group has bought online fashion retailer I Saw It First and plans to integrate it into recent acquisition Missguided. The group says that I Saw It First will benefit from the “scale and strength” of the Frasers Group platform. Frasers Group has over recent years followed an elevation strategy of taking the business upmarket in order to attract new brands to its retail stores – including House of Fraser and Flannels department stores – and websites.

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