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EDITORIAL THG, Gear4music and the ONS on how inflation is affecting multichannel shoppers; attitudes to Earth Day

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In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter, we report on the different approaches that retailers and brands are taking in the light of inflation. The scale of that inflation is illustrated in ONS retail sales figures, for March 2022 out today, which show that shoppers spent 6.7% last month than they did a year ago – to buy 0.5% fewer goods. At the same time, the latest GfK consumer confidence index figures show consumer confidence dropping by seven points to a near historic low of -38 in April. This is a challenge for retailers and brands – and today we’re reporting on some of the different approaches that they are taking to this challenge.

THG says it is going to try to keep its prices relatively stable, so that its customers – many of whom return to buy their favourite products – will stay with them for the long term. The brand owner has reported record sales and says it will absorb inflationary costs as it builds long-term customer relationships – potentially with an impact on profitability. Some 80% of its direct-to-customer sales are from repeat customers, while it is also building and operating websites for brands that want a global online business – at a lower risk.

Gear4music says it expects its full-year revenues to be 6% lower than last year after its European and international sales were particularly hard hit over the last 12 months. The musical instrument and equipment retailer says consumer demand has been weaker than expected in early 2022 as a result of factors including inflation. It is investing in ecommerce upgrades and in distribution in order to prepare itself for the coming year.

On Earth Day, we report both on what the latest research says about shoppers’ attitudes to sustainable buying, and on how one fashion brand is marking the day.

And we’ve drawn on the recent RetailX Central & Eastern Europe Ecommerce Regional Report 2021 for a briefing on eMAG, a leading online retailer in Central and Eastern Europe which is using its own bank of lockers to enable Budapest customers to collect their online order on the same day.

Today’s guest comment comes from Kamran Hedjri of PXP Financial who argues that the secret of high street survival lies in in-store digitalisation.

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