● Waterstones and its former parent company HMV both face ferocious competition from online sellers such as Amazon and Play.com, yet we marked their websites at less than two out of a possible ten.
● Argos, who have just announced plans to close or relocate 75 UK stores over the next five years, reported a 37% fall in group pre-tax profit to £18m in the six months to the start of September. We rated their website in 351st position with a score of just 2.6.
● Last summer, just before the Olympics boosted the profile of cycling, Halfords issued a profits warning and, according to the Daily Telegraph, ousted its Chief Executive. Halfords website improved its position by ten places in the most recent retail survey, but still languishes in the sub-300s on a score of less than three out of ten.
Mothercare, which runs 1,400 stores including 280 in the UK, is six months into a three-year improvement plan. cutting its losses and slowing down its fall in sales. The company made a loss of £0.6m in the six months to October 13, down from £4.4m for the same period a year ago. According to recent news coverage, sales measured on a like-for-like basis are still falling, but the decline, of 3.4%, is half that of a year ago.
The company's chief executive, Simon Calver, reportedly said its plans were paying off: "Our results show early signs of progress despite the challenging trading conditions in the UK and the eurozone.” he recently told the BBC.
Two current Sitemorse benchmarks report small upward movements of the Mothercare website also – the recent UK Retail 500 benchmark had them move nine points up the table. And the yet-to-be-published FTSE All Share index, out in mid-December, will again show a small improvement.
Sitemorse CEO Lawrence Shaw said: “We noticed some time ago that companies who spend time and effort on making their websites a good experience for users often do well in the market – even those who do not rely on internet shoppers alone. Conversely, other companies struggling in the current cut-throat atmosphere in the High Street often have web presences that leave a lot to be desired. It’s great to be able to report an improvement at Mothercare, and we hope the upward trend continues.
“We are not trying to make any kind of scientific correlation between performance of a brand in the market and performance of its websites and would make no claim to do so. But the evidence we see would appear, at the very least, interesting. “he added.
About Sitemorse surveys
For more than a decade, Sitemorse has been the world's only single solution for web content governance, monitoring, recording and benchmarking.
Our unique web bencharks, published every quarter, provide an up to the minute snapshot of the best and brightest business websites, with insight into which are passing – and failing - vital tests in performance, compliance, and accessibility.
Our software is used to test the sites of major organisations in a variety of sectors, (for example, FTSE All Share companies, and the UK Top 500 retail companies) to compile an index of who ‘does the web’ best.
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