May 23, 2011, 2:45 PM

Amazon is the most-trafficked site in the U.K., but online grocers are gaining

Tesco joins the top three in this year’s IMRG Experian Hitwise Hot 100 list.

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Amazon Europe and housewares retailer Argos held onto their spots as the first and second highest trafficked sites in the United Kingdom, but online grocer and discount mass merchant Tesco Stores jumped two places this year to No. 3, according to a new report from e-retail trade organization Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) and web site traffic measurement firm Experian Hitwise.

Tesco overtook electronics and books retailer for the third spot in the IMRG and Experian Hot 100 list, which ranks e-retailers based on traffic. Experian Hitwise and IMRG say the department store, apparel and accessories, and grocery and alcohol categories grew the most this year, with department stores now accounting for 18% of all U.K. visits to online retailers.

“We’ve seen some pretty significant movement within the top 10 online retailers, with Tesco moving up to third place and B&Q breaking into the top 10 for the first time,” says Robin Goad, director of research at Experian Hitwise. B&Q, a unit of Kingfisher plc and operator of, is similar to Home Depot Inc. and also No. 32 in Internet Retailer’s Top 300 Europe. “The key trends we’ve witnessed this year are that department stores and fashion retailers are expanding their online capabilities in order to drive more sales,” the report says. “There has been a big push this quarter to buy garden furniture online, and that’s mostly attributable to the pre-summer sunshine and demand for BBQs.”

The report also says the popularity of online grocery shopping has pushed the sector up among the best-performing sites overall, with three out of four of the main online grocers in the top 25 of the list.

Merchants that grew most quickly on the list since last year’s report were:

• Transportation provider National Express, which jumped 23 places to No. 70.

• Apparel retailer Republic Retail Ltd., which jumped 22 spots to No. 67.

• Department store BHS, which also rose 22 places to No. 63.

• Department store chain House of Fraser Stores Ltd., up 20 spots to No. 34.

• Pharmacy and beauty retailer Boots UK Ltd., which improved 18 places to No. 26.

• Supermarket and convenience store chain J. Sainsbury plc, up 17 spots to No. 22.

Sainsburys is No. 15 in Top 300 Europe, while Boots is No. 75, BHS is No. 98; Republic Retail is No. 195 and House of Fraser is No. 198.

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