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Ocado and Mothercare: retailers made in different times

Ocado is built around the technology
The contrasting fortunes of Mothercare and Ocado set the stage for today’s InternetRetailing newsletter. On the one hand, Mothercare is renegotiating its finances and lining up a company voluntary agreement (CVA) as it looks to slim down its store estate in the light of the growth of online. On the other hand, Ocado has clinched a deal to sell its technology to the US grocery business it believes can change the way shopping takes place in that market. Ocado’s share price opened today at 797.2p while Mothercare opened at 26.5p. The figures are illustrative of a gulf that is opening up between the two retailers, and indeed between two kinds of retailers in today’s increasingly online retail market. One big strategic difference lies in stores: Mothercare is oversized for a world in which more than 40% of its sales happen on the internet, and it is accordingly looking to reduce its store estate to 78 from 137. By contrast Ocado has no stores of its own.
As online retailing grows – and figures out today from the IMRG show that online is growing, and often strongly, despite falling high street sales – it’s clear that many retailers won’t need the number of stores that they once did. That said, stores are important to shoppers that want to touch, feel and try on before they buy, and they’re key for brand awareness – as property company British Land (and before it Land Securities) flagged up this week. Both see a two-tier market where some adept multichannel traders are successfully growing sales, while others, often weighed down with historic debt, as well as too-large store estates struggle to compete with these newer, more agile, rivals. Older retailers also working out their strategies for a new age include Burberry and Moss Bros, which both reported figures this week.
We also report as Springboard shares its Royal Wedding retail predictions in a report that includes Visualsoft’s tips for making the most of the event via online channels.
Today’s guest comment comes from Nigel Linton, digital marketing manager at Engage Hub, 
who looks ahead to GDPR regulations and how retailers can ensure they’re making the most of them.


The 6th Ecommerce Cup

The new-look expanded event – now able to cater for up to 50 teams – is to be held on June 21. This is the sixth annual Ecommerce Cup, in which Tamebay is joined by sister publications InternetRetailing and eDelivery to host the event. 

The expansion comes after the cup was last year oversubscribed, with so many players taking part that the pre-match briefing had to be held on the pitch. 

This year’s 2018 Ecommerce Cup will again be held in Shepherd’s Bush – where the entire venue has been booked out – and is now open for bookings, with places allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. Click here to find out more and sign up. 


Find out more about upcoming InternetRetailing webinars and register for free on the InternetRetailing webinar page. You can also catch up with past webinars on the page.

Image: courtesy of Ocado

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