EDITORIAL How retailers from Gap and M&S to Waitrose are responding as customers shift ever further online

Image: Fotolia

Image: Fotolia

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter, we’re reporting as Gap shows the extent to which its retail brands have moved online in the last year. Some 45% of sales took place over the internet in its latest financial year, a year in which it had to shut shops around the world, and a year in which it also opted to close more shops in order to reduce its property costs. 

Today we also report as Waitrose launches a new online fulfilment centre as it continues to expand its delivery capacity to serve the growing number of shoppers opting to buy their groceries online, as M&S Bank is to launch an online credit option exclusively for M&S loyalty club members and bank customers when they buy from M&S, and as eBay launches a ‘certified refurbished’ hub to sell discounted goods from trusted brands. 

All are responding to customers who have shown they are more than willing to buy more of their goods online during the Covid-19 pandemic, and who are highly likely to continue shopping in this way even when shops reopen and stay open in the future. It’s also likely that those that have large numbers of shops now will need to adapt their existing business models as they look to stay profitable when a smaller percentage of overall business is online. 

Today Frasers Group warns the mounting costs of the Covid-19 pandemic might mean it has to close some shops – and that it’s now unlikely to buy shops from Debenhams as the department store chain winds down its physical presence, following the sale of its online business to Boohoo. The retail group, which has a strong high street presence, says the decision in this week’s budget to cap business rates relief at £2m means it will be little help to large retailers.

In today’s guest comment, technologist Brian Skewes considers what the UK retail reset means for the ecommerce and multichannel industry. 

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