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Overall online sales slump while BWS leap

Published:  23 October, 2019

Overall online sales recorded a year-on-year rise of just 0.6% in September but was boosted by a strong performance from the beer, wine and spirits (BWS) category. 

BWS sales leaped 15.3% during the month compared to an 11.4% decline in September 2018 driven by the warmer weather at the start of the month, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index.

In fact, despite the extended period of challenging results, September’s overall figures (excluding travel) failed to match the already low six and 12 month rolling averages  up 2.3% and 5.3% respectively, and plummeted well below the five-year average (+10%), with very few categories performing well.

The poor overall results would have triggered some “clear warning signs for retailers” as sales are stuttering at the beginning of the ‘golden quarter’, said Bhavesh Unadkat, principal consultant in retail customer engagement, Capgemini, adding nine out of the 15 sectors tracked reporting negative performance in comparison to last year.

“Retailers will now be looking ahead at how to make the most out of the peak period. With Black Friday promotional discounting on the horizon and consumers expectations set for big reductions, this may prove challenging for retailers to manage after several difficult months,” he said.

IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index tracks the online sales performance of over 200 retailers.