Online retail news in brief (6 June 2018)


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.

Deflation deepens in May

Shop prices fell 1.1% year on year in May 2018, according to The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Nielsen Index, with non-food prices falling 2.5% year-on-year.

BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson: “Retailers' overall sales revenues are under pressure from falling prices and this comes at the same time as business rates and other public policy decisions are pushing up operating costs; leaving retailers squeezed at both ends. Government and policy makers must do more to address the burden of business rates and help to ease the pressure.”

Late spring heatwave boosts grocery sales

Nielsen also revealed that in May, grocery sales grew by 5%, stimulated by the heatwave. Category growth in supermarkets was as follows:

  • alcoholic drinks: +12%
  • soft drinks: +13%
  • ice cream: +41%
  • crisps and snacks: +7.5%

Mike Watkins, UK head of retailer insight, Nielsen: “This growth is well ahead of inflation, indicating that despite any underlying concerns shoppers may have around balancing the monthly household budget, they are willing to spend on food and drink. This is likely to be driven by a combination of the early May bank holiday, a royal wedding and unseasonably hot weather over the period, which encouraged shoppers to visit more often to indulge and celebrate.”

And the good grocery news keeps coming …

Food and grocery to grow 14.8% by 2023

IGD reports that by 2023, the food and grocery market will be worth £218.5bn, representing a growth of 14.8%.

Other findings include:

  • Discounters will achieve the biggest cash gain in sales over the next five years (30% of the total) as they benefit from further store openings and format development
  • Online will remain the fastest growing channel
  • The convenience channel is forecast to return to a stronger growth trend in 2019
  • Larger stores remain the most visited channel with 98% of shoppers visiting at least once in the last month, followed by convenience stores (89% of shoppers). 88% of shoppers use both channels

Drone deliveries coming to China

The Chinese government has granted permission to Alibaba’s food delivery platform,, to deliver orders via drone within Jinshan Industrial Park in Shanghai.

The move is expected to enable deliveries within 20 minutes in the 22.4 square mile complex.

Among the company’s drones is a model capable of carrying six kilograms, hitting a top speed of 65kph, and travelling up to 20 kilometres.

Shoplifting up 4% over the last year

Research from OnBuy has suggested that between April 2017 and March 2018, the number of shoplifting incidents rose by 4% in the UK.

The number of incidents reported was 378,725. That figures equates to over 1,000 incidents a day, and an estimated cost of £500m to retailers.

The Greater London areas suffered the worst, with the Metropolitan Police recording an average of 128 shoplifts per day, or 46,840 over the year.

FBI agent performs backflip, shoots bystander

An off-duty FBI agent was dancing in a bar in Denver Colorado, when he accidentally shot one of the people watching him.

The unnamed agent performed a backflip, which dislodged his gun from his waistband. Retrieving the weapon, he accidentally discharged a shot, injuring the spectator in the leg.

Video shows the agent sheepishly leaving the dancefloor, now enjoying the room’s attention considerably less.

FBI backflip video


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