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Apple, John Lewis and Tesco Direct join the Hot Shops top ten

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The fifteenth quarterly edition of the IMRG-Hitwise Hot Shops List, which ranks the top 50 UK online retailers by their number of visits, has found the top three brands all retaining their top slots in the list — Amazon.co.uk is number one, followed by Argos and Play.

Marks & Spencer (5) climbed one place, but Amazon.com (6) fell one place for the second time running and Next (8) dropped four places. New entrants to the top ten this quarter were Apple Computer (4), John Lewis (9) and Tesco Direct (10).

The biggest movers this quarter were: Game (22) moved up twenty positions, Boots (28) moved up nineteen places, Sainsbury's (29) climbed seventeen, Asda Direct (33) moved up fifteen spots, PC World (31) moved up ten whilst Asda (27), New Look (18) and John Lewis (9) all moved up nine spots.

There were no new entrants to the list this quarter but Toys 'R' Us (47), Carphone Warehouse (50) and HP (41) all re-entered the Top 50 after an absence of just one quarter.

Several brands fell significantly this quarter compared to last. Thomas Cook (46) fell thirty places, Vue Entertainment (49) slipped sixteen, Odeon Cinemas (40) & Cineworld Cinemas (44) fell fourteen spots, while Thomson Holidays (21) fell thirteen places and Littlewoods (30) moved down ten. Another thirteen moved down by less than ten places but Halfords, TravelRepublic.co.uk and First Choice all fell out of the top 50 this quarter.

"With the Christmas run-up under way, it is interesting to note how brands' positions compare with previous years," says IMRG's James Roper. "Overall there is not too much change — twenty-seven of the fifty are within four places of their Hot Shops List rankings in October 2008, and five of the top ten have not moved at all: Amazon.co.uk, Argos, Play.com, Marks & Spencer and Amazon.com. John Lewis at 9 is particularly strong, up from 13 last October, 17 in 2008, and 20 the year before that. Asos continues to power ahead, ranking 11 this time, up from 14 last year and 29 in October 2007, while New Look, at 18, has soared twenty-eight places from the 46 spot it occupied last year. Debenhams is also strong at 20, up from 28 last time, and 49th place in October 2006."

"As we approach Christmas, retailers from sectors that traditionally do well at this time of year have improved their positions on the list," explained Robin Goad, Experian Hitwise's director of research . "Department stores such as Marks and Spencer, John Lewis and the supermarket properties have all moved up the rankings, while Amazon UK and Argos retain the top two positions. Fashion retailers have also benefited from this seasonal boost, and of course toy stores. Finally, two much anticipated new product releases — Microsoft Windows 7 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 — led to an increase in demand for software, computers, video games and consoles, helping both electronics and entertainment retailers pick up more visitors this quarter."

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