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EDITORIAL Retailers carry on discounting to win sales online

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we report as Amazon announces its Black Friday sale dates. This year it’s promising shoppers the chance to save millions of pounds in deals, and says that it will have more great offers than ever. The retailer is one of many that will be offering deals and discounts in the run up to Christmas – if they are not already doing so. BRC retail sales figures today suggest that “extraordinary” levels of discounting were already well underway in October, and helped to drive sales growth both online and across sales channels. Last year, excessive discounting led to a drop in profitability for some retailers, especially in the fashion sector where retailers from Coast to Bonmarché subsequently went into administration. This year, some retailers may find that level of discount is simply not sustainable. We’ll be watching, therefore, to see how different traders approach the question of discounting in a peak trading season that is set to be particularly different, following three years of uncertainty around Brexit. 

Mothercare UK looks to see out this peak trading season in administration as its parent company said yesterday that it had run out of cash to support it. The retailer had been following a digital-first transformation strategy in recent years, closing stores and focusing on mobile and online shoppers – but its parent company says it is now out of money to support it.

There are many potential paths to retail profitability. Today we report on how store-only retailer Primark is using digital to engage with shoppers, while research from GlobalData predicts fast growth in sales via marketplaces. 

We report too on the launch of the 2019 UK Growth 2000 report, and on what a low code approach might mean for British retailers. 

Today’s guest comment is a timely one, as Brian Green of Magento considers key barriers to omnichannel profitability – and how retailers can best surmount them.

Image: Fotolia

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