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‘Sooner, Faster, Now’ — the Companies Surfing the E-Commerce Wave

Online retail sales are growing at double-digit percentage rates in every western European country

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E-Commerce
People walk past a Debenhams store in Stockport, Britain, Jan. 4, 2018. VOA

Amazon’s assault on the retail industry has brought misery to traditional retailers without a strong web presence.

Less well noticed is the patchwork of European companies that are turning the e-commerce revolution to their advantage, supplying online giants with everything from forklift trucks and storage space to cardboard boxes and automated warehouses.

Mainly bricks-and-mortar retailers such as Debenhams, H&M, and Marks & Spencer have faced a torrid few years as stretched consumers increasingly look online for bargains.

Online retail sales are growing at double-digit percentage rates in every western European country, according to consultancy the Centre for Retail Research.

ALSO READ: With third largest internet user base, India’s e-commerce still falls behind China’s e-market

E-Commerce
In Britain, a fifth of transactions is now conducted online, a five-fold increase over the last decade. Wikimedia Commons

The world’s dominant online retailer Amazon, whose shares have soared 73 percent in the last year, is outside the remit of most European investors because it is U.S. listed, so they have had to look for other ways of buying into the trend.

One is investing in companies that have benefited from the rise of e-commerce.

On February 16, warehouse owner Segro’s shares hit a decade-high after it said space-hungry clients, many in online retail and logistics, continued to buy up storage.

E-Commerce
“There is a bull market in impatience,” said Gary Paulin, head of global equities at broker Northern Trust. “Consumers want things sooner, faster, now.” Wikimedia Commons

 

He advises clients to buy shares in Kion, a German forklift truck-maker that is automating warehouses for online retailers, speeding up deliveries in the process.

He also flagged a turnaround at online supermarket Ocado. The company has long been targeted by short-sellers betting its share price will fall, but recently it has signed tie-ups with food retailers Casino and Sobeys, and its shares have more-than-doubled since November.

Martin Todd, a fund manager at Hermes Investment Management, owns shares in Kion as well as DS Smith, a cardboard-box maker which supplies Amazon as well as a number of other online retailers.

DS Smith is developing technology to custom-make boxes for Amazon that will help reduce large gaps in packages that increase freight costs.

E-Commerce
Buying some stocks exposed to online retail does not come cheap. Ocado shares are currently trading at more than 800 times forecast earnings, according to Eikon data. Wikimedia Commons

ALSO READ: E-commerce driving India’s SME growth

“You might think it is a pretty unsexy business … [but] it is getting a more high tech in what is traditionally a very low tech industry,” Todd said.

The company recently entered Britain’s blue-chip FTSE 100 index for the first time.

John Bennett, head of European equities at Janus Henderson Investors, said while traditional retailers were “absolutely dying,” stocks such as Kion were too expensive for him to own.

“It became a very popular name, and I tend to shy away [from widely-owned companies],” he said. “I am far too curmudgeonly on the multiples you pay.” (VOA)

Next Story

Echo Input- New Device by Amazon Now Available in India

The device adds to the Echo Dot, Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Spot and Echo Sub family of Amazon products

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Google , US, Alexa, Amazon, Drones, e-commerce
The logo of Amazon, online retailer is seen at the company logistics center in Lauwin-Planque, France. VOA

Amazon on Thursday announced the availability of its new device — Echo Input — that would enable users to add Alexa support to their existing speakers via an audio cable or Bluetooth, for Rs 2,999 in India.

The device features a four-microphone arrangement to allow users to talk to Alexa from across the room using the Alexa app that is available on both, iOS and Android, the company said in a statement.

Using the device, users would be able to add their speakers to a new or existing multi-room music group and adjust volume parameters using voice commands.

Amazon, online retailer, Drones
The Amazon warehouse in San Fernando de Henares is seen during a 3-day walkout to demand better wages and working conditions, on the outskirts of Madrid, Spain. VOA

“With Echo Input, we are giving users even more options to choose the best Echo device for their needs and adding it to your existing speakers is the easiest way to begin your voice-first experience with Alexa,” said Jayshree Gururaj, Director, Amazon Devices.

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The device adds to the Echo Dot, Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Spot and Echo Sub family of Amazon products.

The company also announced that in addition to Amazon Prime Music, Saavn and TuneIn, users can listen to music from Hungama and Gaana as well, which are now available on Alexa starting Thursday.  (IANS)