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EDITORIAL How pureplays from Shein to Asos are deploying pop-up stores; the role of inflation in retail sales

Shein is among a number of retailers exploring what pop-up shops can do for their ecommerce businesses. Image courtesy of Shein

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting as ecommerce brands expand into physical retail through pop-up stores. That’s an approach being tested by pureplays including Asos, Boohoo, and Shein over the course of this weekend. InternetRetailing’s Jasdip Sensi headed to Birmingham to see how online-only Shein interprets the role of the store in its new pop-up.

We’re also reporting as ONS figures suggest that shoppers spent more online in February than January, although less than they did a year earlier. The rise in spending may be welcome but remains lower than the rate of inflation and shoppers are still spending more to buy less than they did a year ago, and more to buy slightly more than they did last month. The effects of inflation on spending over the past three years are particularly starkly illustrated.

On that theme, we report as Wickes this week offers an update on how it has won more customers and taken its sales to record levels in its latest full-year – although profits lagged behind inflation as it increased prices more slowly than its own costs increased.

We also report on how other retailers are working on their own customer experience, from the move into pop-up shops to service improvements. Tesco is expanding its Whoosh rapid delivery service to 1,000 stores. As well as expanding the availability of the service, the supermarket has also improved the customer experience through updates including 15-minute delivery windows and map-based order tracking. And Levi’s is trialling the use of AI to generate a more diverse range of models, from a range of body types and ages through to size and skin colour.

We report too as ‘Queen of Shops’ Mary Portas feels so strongly about proposed changes to the mutual structure of John Lewis and Waitrose that she has written an open letter to the John Lewis Partnership’s management arguing that the task of chair Sharon White and CEO Nish Kankiwala is bigger than they may think – to “save part of our collective cultural identity”.

We continue our exploration of the performance of retailers and brands in the 2023 RetailX UK Top500. In the report this is measured through four value chains. Here we take a look at the Capital Value Chain.

In today’s guest comment,  Mike Scally of Luzern eCommerce considers how new technologies are adding to the online shopping experience

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