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UK Retail Stars Losing Ground to Online Alternatives

Apple, Google Shopping surpass homegrown favorites

May 5, 2017

The UK’s list of favorite online retail destinations is growing ever more star-spangled, with Apple and Google Shopping joining a list already headed by US imports Amazon and eBay.

According to February 2017 comScore MMX data, Apple and Google Shopping placed fifth and sixth, respectively, among the UK’s top 10 retail companies as ranked by unique visitors to their desktop brand sites. Those two choices were nowhere to be found on the comparable list from March 2016.

Top 10 Retail Sites in the UK, Ranked by Unique Visitors, Feb 2017 (millions)

Those additions displaced UK apparel retailer Next and grocery chain operator J Sainsbury (Sainsbury’s) from the top 10 list.

Other homegrown retailers feeling the squeeze were department store and grocery operator John Lewis Partnership (John Lewis, Waitrose), which dipped one spot to seventh; electronics and mobile phone retailer Dixons Carphone (Carphone Warehouse, Currys PC World), which fell one position to eighth; and department store and grocery chain Marks & Spencer (M&S), which fell two spots to 10th. Walmart, owner of grocery chain Asda, also lost ground, sliding from fifth to ninth.

The only homegrown retailers to hold their places on comScore’s list were Home Retail Group, owner of general merchandise retailer Argos and home decor merchant Habitat; and grocer Tesco, at third and fourth, respectively.

Among the list’s members, only M&S has revealed any plans that might push it back up among the UK’s top online retail destinations. Steve Rowe, the retailer’s CEO, told The Guardian last week that M&S would begin testing a full-fledged online grocery shopping service this fall. Currently, M&S only provides shoppers the ability to buy some party food and gift items online for in-store pickup.

Cliff Annicelli

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