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Online retail news in brief (23 May 2018)

By IMRG

In case you missed them, we’ve pulled together a few online retail news highlights from around the web this week.

Here are some of the latest stories in online retail.

Online retail goes from strength to strength in April

Despite it reportedly being another difficult month for sales and footfall on the high street, UK online retail sales went from strength to strength in April, up +18.8% year-on-year (YoY) according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index.

This was the highest YoY increase since November 2016 and came in despite Easter falling in March this year.

Retail insolvencies up 7% year-on-year

The number of insolvencies among retail businesses is up 7% in 2017/18, as high costs and the shift online puts great pressure on bricks-and-mortar shops.

Research by law firm RPC puts online-only retail growth at 23% last year, while high street footfall dropped by 6%.

However, the number of Company Voluntary Agreements (CVAs) has fallen by 55% in the last five years, which the firm suggests could be due to high profile cases discouraging retailers and creditors from entering into them.

GDPR compliance emails possibly illegal under GDPR

The General Data Protection Regulation comes in to force this Friday. You may have heard.

It seems that many a desperate attempt to comply with the law may be illegal under that same legislation.

Law firm Winckworth Sherwood has advised that poor legal advice has led to some businesses asking for consent in a manner which breaches the rules.

Toni Vitale, the head of regulation, data and information: “In many cases the sender will be breaching another set of regulations, the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations, which makes it an offence to email someone to ask them for consent to send them marketing by email.”

Apps to overtake online banking by next year

Banking industry analytics company CACI has predicted that by 2019, mobile apps will be used by more banking customers than computer-based online services.

It also suggested that 72% of the UK adult population (35m people) will bank with apps by 2023.

CACI also pointed out that the shift would come hand-in-hand with further closures of physical bank branches.

Rising fuel costs lead to spending fears

While wages have recently seen faster growth than prices, the rise in the cost of oil and the knock-on effect on petrol and diesel prices are threatening consumer spending.

George Salmon, equity analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown: “Things have started to look better for the UK consumer recently, with inflationary pressures easing and real wage growth finally started picking up. Filling up the tank is a pretty essential expense for most of us, so the average consumer could find there's a few pounds less in the jar at the end of each month."

Tesco to remove some ‘best before’ dates

Tesco is planning to remove ‘best before’ dates from some of its pre-packaged produce in an effort to cut food waste.

‘Best before’ indicates the period in which food is at optimal quality, whereas ‘use by’ indicates the point at which food is no longer edible.

Mark Little, Tesco head of food waste: "We know some customers may be confused by the difference between 'best before' and 'use by' dates on food and this can lead to perfectly edible items being thrown away before they need to be discarded."

‘Thriller lean’ explained

Doctors with a keen sense of priorities at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research in Chandigarh, India, have published their explanation of Michael Jackson’s famously ‘impossible’ lean.

A patented device built into a shoe was attached to a ‘hitch member’ in the ground, say the researchers, though the move still requires extraordinary core, spinal, and leg strength to achieve.

Diagram of Thriller Lean

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