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Online retailers report strong performances – amid reports of emptying shops and a high street stimulus plan

Image: Jeramey Lende/Shutterstock

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting as Amazon says membership of its Prime subscription scheme is now over 200m – and as it reports a 44% rise in sales over the first quarter of the year – and predicts further sales to come. 

This week WHSmith points to strong online performance in its latest figures, although Covid-19 store closures in its travel business mean that its sales – and bottom line – still lag behind previous years. 

Both these stories chime with figures out today that show the empty shop rate increasing during lockdown 3.0, especially in shopping centres – and fears of more to come. That shift away from stores comes as more sales have taken place online during and after Covid-19 lockdowns. 

The steady shift of sales from the high street to online is what the Northern Ireland Department of the Economy now plans to tackle with a high street stimulus plan that is set to give every adult resident £100 to spend on the high street – but not online. 

Retailers that were never previously online have considered it since the emergence of Covid-19, and this week we learn that Poundland has launched its long-anticipated online trial, serviced from an online fulfilment store in Cannock. 

In today’s guest comment, Fran Quilty of Conjura warns a reckoning is coming for the ecommerce sector – and advises on how to be on the right side. 

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