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In the surest sign yet that retailers are keeping their powder dry in preparation for Christmas, an unprecedented 13 companies retain the same positions as last month in the table of the Top 25 UK’s leading drinks retailing websites for November.

This compares to only five retailers maintaining their positions in the table last month and suggests they are avoiding making any major changes or amendments to their websites, which could potentially lead to problems.

Indicative of this trend is the fact the top four retailers remain unchanged from last month, with Aldi again topping the table, according to the rankings of the top UK drinks retailers’ websites, produced exclusively for Retailinsider.com by website testing specialist Sitemorse.

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.

Aldi managed to score 7.62 out of 10 compared with 7.26 in October, which places it almost a full point ahead of second-placed Spar (UK) that managed 6.88. This puts it a shade above The Whisky Shop and Fortnum & Mason.

These top four are fighting off improved performances from a brace of retailers that all moved up the table this month. They are led by Bargain Booze, up one place, The Wine Society, which climbs another notch for the third month running, and Lidl the biggest mover this month with an advance of three places into seventh spot.

These three climbers are among a total of six companies that moved upwards this month, which compares with only three merchants heading skywards in October. Even more striking this month is the fact that only three companies fell compared with a chunky 14 last month.

It has been a rather downbeat month generally for the beers, wines and spirits category as online sales fell 5% between October 2012 and the same month last year (according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index). Month-on-month there was no change between August and September this year. This compares with a year-on-year increase online of 14% across all categories.

Only one retailer was excluded from the Sitemorse testing this month, with Budgens not included in the Top 25 table because of its reliance on JavaScript. In contrast, Sainsbury’s re-joined the table this month, and is positioned in 11th place.

Top 25 Drinks Retail Websites – Nov 2012

Company Name                      +/-       Score out of 10

            Aldi                              same   7.62    

            Spar (UK)                     same   6.88

            The Whisky Shop         same   6.74

            Fortnum & Mason       same   6.50

            Bargain Booze +1        6.12

            The Wine Society        +1        5.54

            Lidl                              +1        5.19

            Londis                          same   5.10

            EH Booth & Co            same   4.64

            Iceland                        +1        4.38

            Sainsbury’s                  new     4.35

            BeerMerchants           same   3.96                

            Majestic Wine same   3.84

            The Drink Shop            same   3.77

            Marks & Spencer        same   3.66

            Tesco                           same   3.10

            Selfridges                    same   3.10

            Asda                            +1        3.10

            Slurp.co.uk                  -1         3.04

            Virgin Wines               +1        2.76

            Waitrose                     -1         2.64

            Laithwaites                  same   1.78

            Sun Times Wine Club  +1        1.52

            Naked Wines               -1         1.52


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