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EDITORIAL How retailers are rebalancing multichannel post-Covid

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In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting on how retail appears to be rebalancing its multichannel capabilities in the wake of Covid-19. The latest retail sales figures from the ONS suggest that ecommerce sales are still well ahead of the same time last year, but that they are slipping back slightly from July. The share of retail that ecommerce took appears to have peaked and now be moving back to a new normal from that peak. In May, 33% of UK retail sales took place online. That was up from the 19.6% that was reported in February, the ONS’ pre-pandemic reference point. Now sales appear to be settling down at around 28%. That has implications for the way that customers are likely to buy, and how retailers will sell. 

We explore customer behaviour further in a piece that brings together three recent pieces of research into how shoppers want to buy post-Covid – and for Christmas 2020. And we look at retailer behaviour via reports from New Look and Next this week. 

New Look’s newly agreed CVA will reset rents in a way that reflects turnover and allow it to invest in omnichannel. The retailer says that stores remain important, but clearly online shopping will be more important than before as it invests further in omnichannel.

Next says that It’s seen customers change their buying habits post-Covid-19. They are now shopping more online, and, when they venture to a shop, it seems that shop is more often on a retail park. Retail parks are also, says Next, more popular with its online shoppers. Whether that will remain the case long-term it’s unable to say.

In a timely guest comment, Jon Roberts of OrderWise, considers why retailers now have to keep up with their consumers, and that means gaining a new understanding of how and why they want to buy. 

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