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EDITORIAL Who’s who in the IRUK Top500 2019? Plus the latest news from Ocado, John Lewis, Carrefour and more

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter, we’re presenting our annual line-up of who’s who at the top of UK ecommerce and multichannel retailing, the IRUK Top500 2019. The report includes the annual listing of UK’s leading retailers, including the coveted Elite retailer status – this year taken by Amazon, Argos, H&M, John Lewis, New Look and Sainsbury’s. This listing stands apart from others because it’s based not just on earnings and web traffic, but on performance across hundreds of different metrics in our six key Performance Dimensions, gathered and measured by our RetailX research team over the course of ever year.

Today we’re reporting on how some of those retailers are growing and developing their businesses still further – the kind of continual development that leads to change at the top of the IRUK Top500 every year. 

We’re reporting as Ocado reports growing sales, trials one-hour delivery – but sees pre-tax losses widen as it invests for the future by supplying technology and fulfilment to its growing portfolio of third-party retailer customers. The retailer is investing hard as it competes on a strategy of fast growth not just in its own businesses but in those of other retail businesses around the world. Its ambition is no less than to change the way that shoppers buy their groceries.

We report as John Lewis rolls out a social media app for its UK employees, and as European retailer Carrefour teams up with Google to open a machine learning and AI hub in Paris this year. 

Meanwhile, there’s news that 100 HMV stores have been bought by Canadian retailer Sunrise Records. Its founder Doug Putman is looking to stores to give shoppers a wider choice of products and a good customer experience but, as we report, there are questions about the role of stores in an age of streaming. 

There are worries too from the British Retail Consortium, which found UK retailers saw modest sales growth, both online and off, in January – but warns that a no-deal Brexit will hit hard and could mean that some names disappear from the UK high street.

Today’s guest comment comes from Itza Bocken of EyeBuyDirect on how retail experiences can help to retain customers, and we report as delivery company Hermes gives its self-employed drivers the option of a new self-employed plus status.

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