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EDITORIAL Retail continues to shift online, JD Sports expands, facial recognition payment takes a step forward

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In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting as ONS figures show retail sales continuing on a long decline that started following a sales spike at the time that shops reopened from lockdown, while at the same time moving further online. In-store sales are subdued, says the ONS, but that’s not to say people are spending much more online. Food sales and department store ecommerce sales have risen compared to the previous month, but in general and in a number of non-food categories, sales are down compared to last year.

That shift online is also present at brand organisation Unilever, which this week reports that 12% of its sales are now online following fast ecommerce growth. The brand organisation sells direct to shoppers as well as via online marketplaces and retailers. It notes that as shoppers return to normal, they are starting to buy more of its brands on visits to shops, while eating out of the house – but nonetheless its ecommerce sales grew 38% on last year. 

Today we also report as JD Sports continues its international expansion with the acquisition of Greek multichannel retailer Cosmos Sport. This is part of its brand strategy, in which a wider global footprint makes it a more attractive retailer to brands. 

Alibaba Group is talking about sustainability as it launches this year’s 11.11 Festival. Singles Day is all about consumption, it admits, but this year it wants to ensure that happens in a more environmentally responsible way. It’s also talking about social shopping, using live-streaming and product sharing in order to bring a sense of community to the event. 

Facial recognition payment terminal company VisionLabs has incorporated credit card payment functionality into the latest version of its Luna POS terminal. Certification from providers including Visa and Mastercard means that shoppers can now show their face to pay, and have the total added to their credit card bill. 

And in today’s guest comment, Josh Muncke of Faculty asks what retailers can learn from the healthcare sector. 

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