Retail Week and The Smart Cube launch “Digital Fashion 40” – a new report on the retailers fashioning an online future


Latest initiative under the strategic analytics partnership to help UK retailers adapt

London, 22 October 2020: The Smart Cube, a global provider of strategic research and analytics solutions, and RWRC by Ascential – the home of Retail Week and World Retail Congress – have today published a new report which analyses the fashion retailers best equipped to survive and thrive in a digital post-Covid future. 

“Digital Fashion 40” is the latest initiative under the partnership between the two organisations, launched in June 2020. The report benchmarks UK-focused fashion retailers and identifies those in the best positions to succeed in 2021 and beyond, taking careful consideration of the dramatic acceleration seen in online and digital trends during 2020.

Key highlights of the Digital Fashion 40

  • H&M took the number one spot, as the retailer best equipped to thrive online in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic
  • John Lewis, Marks & Spencer and Boohoo also made the top 10 
  • High street giant Primark is conspicuous by its absence from the ranking, having been held back by its lack of a transactional website. 

Lisa Byfield-Green, head of insight at Retail Week, said: “The fashion sector has been one of those hardest hit by the ongoing pandemic. This period has accelerated many of the trends that we were already seeing in the industry, such as the importance of brand relevance, a clear proposition and a digital-first pureplay or omnichannel strategy.

“Our benchmarking measures looked for brands that entered the crisis in a solid financial position, with a clear proposition valued by customers, to attract high levels of online traffic and offer a great customer experience.”

Rachit Khare, vice president of data science and analytics at The Smart Cube, adds: “Covid-19 has rapidly accelerated the digital shift in consumer engagement within retail. Our analysis of the UK’s biggest fashion retailers over the last six months shines a spotlight on the businesses that have been quickest to adapt to changing consumer expectations.

“The learning for all retailers is to focus on developing digital capabilities, adapting ranges to the new normal, and building brand loyalty through meaningful engagement with shoppers.”

The Digital Fashion 40 methodology takes a holistic view of the retailer’s performance and assesses their financial strength going into the coronavirus crisis, traffic generated through their websites, their online capabilities – including delivery and returns policies, and a myriad of consumer-centric metrics provided by WGSN Barometer that measure customer experience and brand sentiment. More than 250 KPIs – created from public and paid data sources – feed into the analytics framework, providing a comprehensive view of retailer performance and future potential.


– Ends – 


Notes to Editors

The full report can be accessed here.

Previously under the partnership between Retail Week and The Smart Cube, the Coronavirus Consumer Pulse monitor has been published  since May 2020. The reports can be viewed here.


About RWRC by Ascential

RWRC is the home of Retail Week and World Retail Congress. For three decades, we have helped the leaders of some of the world’s most famous retail businesses to shape their strategy.

We have created the ecosystem in which retail’s great insights, great ideas and great personalities are brought together to navigate digital transformation and make the industry stronger.

Senior retail and brand leaders rely on us, for:

  • Accurate analysis of the current landscape
  • Data-driven trend analysis, guidance and market forecasts
  • Access to our unique network of peers, suppliers and partners

Tens of thousands of retailers and brands interact with our content every single day, with strong C-Suite coverage of the top 100 UK retailers, as well as the top 250 global retailers.


About The Smart Cube

For leading businesses around the world, The Smart Cube is a trusted partner for high performing intelligence that answers critical business questions. And we work with our clients to figure out how to implement the answers, faster. 

Through custom research, advanced analytics and best of breed technology, we transform data into insights – enabling smart decision-making to improve business performance at the top and bottom line. We call it: Intelligence. Accelerated.

Our clients include a third of the companies in the FTSE and Fortune 100, primarily in the  CPG, Life Sciences, Energy, Chemicals, Industrials, Financial Services, Professional Services and Retail sectors.

We serve our global client base from our offices in the UK, the USA, Switzerland, Romania and India.

For more information, visit


For media enquiries, please contact:

Jenny Rushforth, Director of Communications and Content 

Tel: +44 (0) 7739 363 997