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EDITORIAL From Debenhams to Valentine’s Day: how experiences are moving front of mind

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter, we’re reporting as Debenhams gets a credit lifeline and buys more time for its transformation plan. The department store is just one of many high street retailers working to change the way they sell at a time when shoppers are spending less of their money in stores and more of it online. 

It’s a shift in consumer behaviour that’s also amply demonstrated in figures out this week from the BRC and Springboard. They show footfall down for the 14th month in a row. The BRC argues that the answer for retailers is to focus on experiences in stores, and that’s what Debenhams is doing with a strategy that focuses on the social opportunities at the point where the store and online meet. Only time will now tell whether the department store will be able to achieve that in the year that it has now secured. 

Today we report on expectations that Valentine’s Day sales will rise this year. One online florist, Serenata Flowers, says that its sales in the two weeks ahead of the event are already 15% up on last time. We also highlight the latest research on international shopping: two separate reports suggest that more shoppers bought from UK merchants across borders over Christmas, and that more traders now offer international currency payment options. Meanwhile, the Royal Mail says that the subscriptions market is set to hit £1bn by 2022. 

Today’s guest comment comes from Ian Tansley of Croud, who considers what digital marketing agencies can do for online retailers. 

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