Friday, July 25, 2008

Online Retail - Its a disaster in the making

Today, a crisis broke out in retailing.

The BBC reported "Wedding present firm Wrapit says it is experiencing financial difficulties and is in talks with banks and advisers to avoid going into administration."

This is really bad news for retailers. Online retail has been the one bright light for retailers according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.

It shows that UK shoppers spent over £26.5 billion online in the first six months of 2008 despite the credit crunch – up 38% on the £19.2 billion recorded for the first half of 2007. Capgemini and IMRG report that for the first half of 2008, 17p in every pound was spent online. This is roughly equivalent to half of all supermarket sales and larger than all retail sales for clothing and footwear.

What the online retailers really don't want is anything to shake confidence in online retailing and especially this demographic sector at this time.

This is a PR issue for all retailers and I am happy to hold a meeting next week at the CIPR in London with practitioners to discuss the issue but in the meantime, this is a matter for fast work across the retail sector at a corporate level.