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H&M and Zara top European multichannel retailers

Swedish fast fashion retailer Hennes & Mauritz (H&M), Inditex-owned fashion brand Zara, and global sports and leisure goods retailer Decathlon have all been named among the top 500 European multichannel retailers.

The retailers are ranked Elite in the new performance-based ranking of Europe's leading 500 retailers, released by Internet Retailing Europe (IREU).

Also listed in the top five are technology behemoth Apple, Bon Prix and UK fashion and homewares retailer Next Plc. According to IREU these retailers "represent the pinnacle of European multichannel retailing".

In the top 30 were Amazon, Nike, Zalando and Carrefour, while Barbour, Coast, Guess and Asics were listed toward the latter end.

The report, which covered 31 countries, is the first by IREU and was developed by assessing the leading European retailers in terms of their multichannel presence in the market, measured through their revenues, online sales, web traffic and store numbers.

The listing was then analysed through six performance dimensions, covering the customer, operations and logistics, merchandising, brand engagement, mobile and cross-channel, and strategy and innovation.

According to Internet Retailing editor-in-chief Ian Jindal, the European Top500 is the only research and performance based assessment of the European ecommerce and multichannel market.

He adds: "The resulting understanding goes beyond which retailer has the highest turnover, ecommerce revenue or web traffic to learn which best-practice approaches are most commonly and widely used in this highly-diverse market, and which are still emerging as etail becomes ever-more sophisticated."

Reflecting its international reach, H&M was found to offer 11 unique currencies on its website and also scored highly on search visibility on Google, with a reach rate of 42% over six months.

British clothing retailer Boohoo was also praised for supporting nine customer communication channels and seven social media networks. Its website was also visible in Google search with a 54.1% reach rate.

As well as listing the Top500 European retailers, the report also names the leading 100 retailers in each dimension, and identifies how well brands operated by larger retail groups perform within the ranking. There's also analysis of how marketplaces operate within Europe, and a listing of retailers that are on researchers' radar but aren't yet ranked in the final Top500.

The report found the UK has the largest share at 54% of top 500 companies operating within its borders, closely followed by France and Germany with 38% and 36% respectively.

Looking ahead, the IREU says it "confidently predicts" that more retailers will be selling to more markets and using more languages and currencies to do so by 2017.

The IREU Top500 report will be followed by an additional six reports, starting in September, that will focus on the individual performance dimensions. Further analysis will come in an InternetRetailing Multichannel Brand Index that will use the same metrics as this index in order to assess the performance of brands in the market.

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