Lengthy summer delays start of winter sales season

JOG Swimwear shop

JOG Swimwear shop

Latest online retail sales stats from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index have revealed a slowing in online retail sales in the UK, with figures from September revealing a 7% increase – the second lowest growth rate ever recorded in the Index and the slowest since 2010.

Although an estimated £8.2 billion was spent online in the past year, multichannel retailers (those with a store presence) have resisted the downward trend more than online-online retailers, with 8% year-on-year growth in multichannel compared to only 5% year-on-year for pureplay merchants.

The lowest-ever recorded growth in this sector suggests the warm weather discouraged shoppers from updating their wardrobes until autumn really sets in. However, whilst footwear slowed to 4.5% year-on-year, accessories continued to perform strongly with sales up 48% year-on-year.

Despite brands and retailers investing in m-commerce sites designed for tablets and smartphones, the report found this sector have the lowest growth rate at 29%, which is a significant drop from the previous all-time low of 36%.

Chief information officer at IMRG Tina Spooner commented: “The unseasonably warm weather last month clearly had a negative effect on the online retail industry, with apparel merchants in particular seeing a significant impact on sales. As clothing and fashion merchants launched their autumn / winter ranges, temperatures during September reached levels significantly above early autumn averages so it is no surprise that winter coats and boots were not at the top of our online shopping lists. This is not the first time we have seen unseasonal weather having a detrimental effect on e-retail sales, however, on a more positive note, it appears the milder temperatures during September boosted sales of beer, wine and spirits and garden products.

“As we enter the fourth quarter and retailers prepare for the key festive trading period, we expect growth levels to return to the consistent double-digit figures we have seen throughout 2014.”

Adgild Hop, principal, Head of Retail Consulting at Capgemini added: “As is so often the case, weather has once again influenced retail performance this month. Retailers across the UK, but in particular those retailers with more seasonal trade, will no doubt be hoping to recoup some of the lost sales before markdown pressures take over. In addition to lying awake at night worrying about the fast approaching Black Friday and Cyber Monday as the prelude to Christmas, no doubt a lot of retailers will be saying a little prayer to the weather gods.”

Additionally, Adgild Hop comments, “This month has also yet again highlighted the relative strength of multichannel versus online propositions, with a year-on-year LFL (like-for-like) performance for multichannel retailers that is 80 per cent higher that their pureplay online counterparts.”

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