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They might operate at different ends of the pricing spectrum but both F&M and Iceland suffered declines in their website’s performances in the table of the Top UK drinks sites in March, according to analysis undertaken exclusively for Retail Insider by online specialist Sitemorse.

F&M slipped eight places to 19th spot with a score of 3.04 out of 10, which represents a sharp decline in its fortunes this year as it stood in third spot in January with a score of 5.72. However, its fall in March was beaten by Iceland that collapsed a hefty 15 places to sit in 20th spot.

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 most improved site this month was Selfridges that climbed eight places to 14th spot with a score of 3.36 – recovering some of the four places it slipped in March. It still needs to make dramatic progress if it is to start challenging the top performers in the table, notably Bargain Booze that retained its position at the head of the table with a score of 7.20 (a slight decline on the 7.56 achieved in March).

It stays just ahead of Budgens that again holds on to second spot, with The Whisky Shop switching places with Spar (UK) to move into third spot. Just behind them is BeerMerchants that moved up three places to take a coveted Top 5 spot.

Worth a mention this month is Naked Wines that moved up three places to sixth spot in what has been a transformational month for the company, with the announcement that it is being taken over by Majestic Wine (sitting in 15th spot) and its founder Rowan Gormley is to take over as the CEO at Majestic.

The beer, wines and spirits category online has made more modest gains this month (compared with February), with a month-on-month gain of 8% for March, according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. This compares with an increase of 9% for combined online sales across all categories.

Londis was yet again excluded from the Sitemorse testing this month because of its reliance on JavaScript.

Top UK Drinks Retail Websites – April 2015

 Company Name                      +/-       Score out of 10

  • Bargain Booze               same               7.20
  • Budgens                          same              6.08
  • The Whisky Shop          +1                   5.66
  • Spar (UK)                        -1                    5.57
  • BeerMerchants.com      +3                  4.32
  • Naked Wines                  +3                   4.30
  • Aldi                                   same              4.24
  • EH Booth & Co              +2                   4.20
  • Lidl                                   -3                    3.77
  • The Drink Shop             +2                   3.61
  • Morrisons                       +3                   3.38
  • Asda                                 +1                   3.38
  • Oddbins                          +4                   3.38
  • Selfridges                        +8                   3.36
  • Majestic Wine                +3                   3.31
  • Marks & Spencer           -1                    3.20
  • Sainsbury’s                     +4                   3.14
  • Slurp.co.uk                      -2                   3.14
  • Fortnum & Mason         -8                   3.04
  • Iceland                             -15                  2.96
  • The Wine Society           +2                  2.76
  • Tesco                                 -2                   2.68
  • Virgin Wines                   -4                   2.58
  • Laithwaites                      same             2.14
  • Waitrose Cellar               +1                  2.14
  • Sun Times Wine Club    -1                   1.89

Sitemorse has been advising its clients about how to improve their web presence for more than a dozen years and its technical team have fine-tuned the Sitemorse software engine so that it is capable of doing far more than just helping find problems. The company offers true digital insight to many large and small organisations in public and private sectors, as well as publishing regular unique INDEX benchmarks