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The upper echelon of the UK’s drinks retail websites are performing more strongly in May than last month, according to the monthly Top 25 UK websites for drinks retailers, produced exclusively by website testing specialist Sitemorse.

All the top five this month scored more highly than the 5.72 achieved by the fifth-placed retailer in April – Fortnum & Mason. In fifth spot this month is Budgens with a score of 6.22, having moved up two places. It is beaten by Fortnum & Mason in fourth place, Aldi in third and the top two places are held by the same names as last month – Spar (UK) in top spot with a score of 7.26 and following closely behind The Whisky Shop with 7.10.

The variety of these names highlights the objective of the Top 25 table is to give a cross-section of the category with the constituents comprising large grocers, pure-play operators, and specialist multi-channel retailers. They combine a mixture of transactional sites and those of a purely informational nature.
To produce the rankings Sitemorse runs automated software that page-by-page reads the first 125 pages of each website and analyses on the basis of six key criteria – function, code quality, user experience, accessibility, performance and SEO capability.

The fact there are 10 names in the table that hold the same position as last month compared with only seven last time, indicates a greater consistency being achieved among the constituents. This might well highlight a maturing among the businesses in the table in how they run their online operations.  

This maturity in the sector can also be seen in the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index that showed only a very modest year-on-year jump in April of 1% for the Beers, Wines and Spirits category. However, this is against very strong comparatives last year because in April 2011 the category experienced growth of 55% on the back of the Royal Wedding celebrations.

Top 25 Drinks Retail Websites – May 2012
Company Name                      +/-       Score out of 10
1.      Spar (UK)                     same   7.26
2.      The Whisky Shop         same   7.10
3.      Aldi                              +1        6.63    
4.      Fortnum & Mason       +1        6.24
5.      Budgens                      – 2        6.22
6.      Bargain Booze             same   5.86
7.      Lidl                              same   5.19
8.      The Wine Society        same   4.82
9.      Iceland                         -4         4.69
10.  Londis                          + 2       4.38
11.  BeerMerchants.com   same   4.14                
12.  Sainsbury’s                  – 2        4.02
13.  Majestic Wine             + 3       3.84
14.  Naked Wines               – 1        3.66
15.  Asda                            -1         3.46
16.  The Drink Shop            – 1        3.41
17.  Tesco                           + 1       3.28
18.  Selfridges                    + 1       3.10
19.  EH Booth & Co           + 3       3.02
20.  Waitrose                     same   2.84
21.  Marks & Spencer        same   2.58
22.  Virgin Wines               – 5        3.38
23.  Laithwaites                  + 1       2.04
24.  Sun Times Wine Club  -1         1.79
25.  Slurp.co.uk                  same   1.78
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