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Bargain Booze has made a dramatic return to form as the performance of its website improved sufficiently for it to bounce back to again top the table of the major British drinks websites, according to tests conducted on the sites of the top 25 UK drinks retailers for July.

It moves up five places with a score of 7.38 out of 10 compared with 6.64 last month and edges out The Whisky Shop that scored 6.64 – the same as in June – into second place, in the ranked table of the top UK drinks retailers’ websites produced exclusively for Retail Insider 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.

Other major movers this month are The Drink Shop that climbs six places into 12th spot with a score of 3.61, Waitrose Cellar moves up five places into 13th spot, and Asda moves up three places into 17th spot.

Performing less well in July is Tesco that falls six places into 21st spot and Aldi that declines five places into 18th spot, which follows on from its fall of two and four places respectively in the previous two months. Its rival Lidl fared much better as it held on to its fourth spot with a score of 5.23.

This comes alongside the announcement that it is to launch a range of premium wines – equating to one million bottles – that includes wines costing as much as £25.99. If the initiative works then it has £49.99 wines Premier Cru wines waiting on the runway.

The bottom end of the table is again propped up by Naked Wines and Virgin Wines that hold their positions in 25th and 26th spots with scores of less than two out of 10. However, the performance of Naked Wines belies its success at attracting new customers to its innovative crowd-funding model. These ‘angel investors’ grew 50% in 2013 to 220,000 – well above the company’s break-even level of 185,000.

This comes against a weak backdrop in online sales, according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, which found the 9% growth in June was the lowest annual online growth since July 2013. This was reflected in the beers, wines and spirits category that in the first three weeks of June was down an average 7% and for the week commencing June 22 it was off 15%.

Top UK Drinks Retail Websites – July 2014

Company Name                      +/-       Score out of 10

Bargain Booze             +5        7.38

The Whisky Shop         -1         6.64

Fortnum & Mason       -1         5.72

Lidl                              same   5.23

Spar (UK)                     -2         5.03

Budgens                      +1        4.82

EH Booth & Co          -2         4.74

The Wine Society        +2        4.56

BeerMerchants.com   -1         4.32

Londis                                +1        4.10

Iceland                                -2         3.86

The Drink Shop            +6        3.61

Morrisons                    +1        3.38

Waitrose Cellar           +5        3.34

Marks & Spencer        -3         3.14

Slurp.co.uk                  same   3.14

Asda                            +3        3.12

Aldi                              -5         3.08

Majestic Wine             -2         3.04

Sainsbury’s                  +1        3.00

Tesco                           -6         2.74

Laithwaites                  same   2.24

Selfridges                    +1        2.14

Sun Times Wine Club  -1         1.99

Naked Wines               same   1.88

Virgin Wines               same   1.62

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