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How this Christmas shopping season is taking shape

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In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re looking ahead to the final days of shopping before Christmas, when it’s predicted that the UK as a whole will spend around £6bn both online and offline. But we’re also starting to see how the shape of the shopping season is developing. That’s important, since the peak period is becoming difficult to predict – and hard to trade.

So far we’ve seen Bonmarché issue the first profits warning of this year, warning that while Black Friday saw strong trade, the rest of the season has been “challenging”. That’s a situation reflected in November retail figures from both the ONS and IMRG that suggest discounts have been the driving factor behind higher sales. IMRG says 35% of November trade came in Black Friday week alone. It’s clear that records were set that week online – in-store suffered as shoppers stayed at home – but it seems that trading has slowed significantly since then. Is this, then the future shape of Christmas shopping? Short peak periods prompted by discounting will be difficult to resource and to plan for. But it’s clear that planning for this year helped retailers such as Dixons Carphone – which this week said that the level of traffic that visited its website on Wednesday evening of Black Friday week would have brought its website down last year. That kind of planning will no doubt be replicated across the industry in the light of the figures that we’re now seeing. But, as Sebastian James of Dixons Carphone said, it’s still early to have a full picture of the holiday shopping period as yet. After all, Panic Saturday and post-Christmas spending are yet to come.

Today we also report on Holland & Barrett as it unveils its full-year results, and plans to turn over £1bn by 2020. Todya’s guest comment is from James Brooke of Amplience, who considers new ways of using content to drive retail sales.

Event presentations and interviews

In today’s newsletter we’re featuring an interview with Christine Bardwell of Oracle at Internet Retailing Conference 2015. You can also catch up with presentations and other interviews from IRC 2015 on the event website now.

Our webinars

Our next webinar is on January 19, when Grant Coleman of Zmags and Ketan Shah of Lyons Consulting Group will join us for a session on creating shoppable content. The two will discuss how retailers can best approach creating an immersive and personalised customer experience that keeps shoppers’ attention. How to create the shoppable experience that customers crave is at 3pm on January 19. Find out more and register for the free event here.

Click to visit the Internet Retailing webinars page to catch up on any that you may have missed, while you can also view them on our IRTV channel.

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