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Argos’ multi-channel crown slips

Leading multi-channel retailer Argos has suffered another disastrous month with a second consecutive double-digit fall that takes it to the bottom-end of the top 50 UK retail sites table as tested in January for The Retail Bulletin. By Glynn Davis


Argos’ multi-channel crown slips

Argos has this month dropped 19 places to take it to 43rd spot with a score of only 2.3 out of 10.  This follows a decline of 14 places in December, prior to which it was in the top 10 with a score of 4.44.

The list of sites tested has been created jointly by The Retail Bulletin and specialist website testing company Sitemorse that used its automated testing of the first 125 pages, reading page content, reviewing templates and checking the delivery infrastructure to generate a ranked table.

Lawrence Shaw, CEO of Sitemorse, says: “For a retailer that is almost the poster child of multi-channel and is an undoubted leader in using technology to sell across channels, this is a very disappointing trend for Argos. And it comes at a bad time for the business as it is under increasing pressure from the major supermarkets that are growing their online and paper-based catalogue operations.”

Argos would have been the worst performer in the table had it not been for HMV, which fell 24 places to 42nd spot in what has been a dire month for HMV Group as its Waterstone’s business remains the bottom-placed retailer in the table with a score of only 1.36.

Maybe the weakness of the company’s internet operations has been a contributing factor behind the poor performance of HMV Group’s share price. It is one of the few businesses in the FTSE Retailers sub-index that is around its 12-month low. Most others are at least near their peaks for the year having ridden the strong outperformance of the Retailers index during the year.

In contrast, other retailers at the bottom end of the Sitemorse table put in better performances this month with modest increases from big-guns Amazon (up five places to 41st spot) and eBay (up two places to 33rd spot). Putting in the strongest performance this month is US-based Staples that shot up 42 places to sixth place with a score of 5.18. This follows a fall of 41 places last month and suggests some inconsistency in its operations at the very least.

Shaw says: “It is good to see some progress from these large US players but they still need to do a lot more if their performance is to match their standing in the industry. They’ve got away with a lot of weaknesses in their businesses to date because of who they are but consistent under-performance of their websites has to have a gradual negative effect on their revenues.”

To see the rankings click here.

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