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European Online Retail Traffic Picks Up In Recent Weeks But Remains Below Year-Ago Levels

London (ots/PRNewswire) - - comScore Releases Review of Holiday Retail Traffic Trends in U.K., France and Germany

comScore, Inc. (Nasdaq: SCOR), a leader in measuring the digital world, today released the first in a series of reports examining visitation to online retail sites in the U.K., France and Germany during the Christmas shopping period. The study monitored the total number of visitors to online retail sites during November and compared average weekly visitor data to a pre-season base period of September and October. The study also examined traffic to the leading online retail sites in each market, comparing current weekly visitation data against the corresponding weeks of last year's shopping season.

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Online Retail Visitation Picks Up in November

In both the U.K. and Germany, the Christmas shopping season appears to be well underway, with visitation to online retail sites up 10 percent and 11 percent respectively in November compared to the base period average. Christmas shopping in France traditionally begins a bit later in the year and the 2008 season is no exception, with French retail site visitor growth up just 6 percent through the final week of November.

    Christmas Online Shopping Uptake*
    % Growth in Total Visitors to Online Retail Sites in
    November 2008 vs. Weekly Base Period Average**
    U.K., France & Germany
    Source: comScore World Metrix, 2008***
    Base Period Index (Sept 1 - Nov 2)              U.K.    France   Germany
    Week 1 (Nov 3 - Nov 9)                          13%       8%       10%
    Week 2 (Nov 10 - Nov 16)                        13%       5%       10%
    Week 3 (Nov 17 - Nov 23)                        10%       6%       15%
    Week 4 (Nov 24 - Nov 30)                         3%       6%       10%
    November Average                                10%       6%       11%
    *% change represents the change in the number of visitors to online
     retail sites compared to the pre-Christmas season base period average.
    **Derived from the average weekly visitors to a pre-determined sample of
     leading online retail sites for the period Nov 3 - Nov 30.
    *** Excludes traffic from public computers such as Internet cafes or
     access from mobile phones or PDAs. 

Although the onset of the Christmas shopping season in November sparked increased online retail visitation when compared to September and October, the year-over-year trends tell a different story. Most top retail sites have experienced declines in visitors versus year ago, providing some perspective on the severity of this year's economic conditions.

Top 5 U.K. Retail Properties

While there was 10 percent growth in traffic to U.K. retail sites in the first four weeks of November compared to the base period, visitation to online retail sites is down 10 percent compared to the same period last year, with traffic losses for each of the big 5 online retailers. The most popular property was online auction site-eBay, followed by Amazon Sites and Apple Inc.

    Growth Rates for Top 5 Retail Sites in the U.K.
    Ranked by Average Weekly U.K. Visitors
    (000)* during First Four Shopping Weeks
    of Christmas Holiday Season**
    Source: comScore World Metrix, 2008
                                   % Change             % Change in
                                   in Average           Average
                                   Weekly               Weekly
                                   Visitors             Visitors
                                   Versus               Versus
                                   2008 Base            Corresponding
                                   Period               Weeks
    U.K.                           Average              Last Year
    Retail                           10%                 -10%
    eBay                              9%                 -20%
    Amazon Sites                     28%                 -21%
    Apple Inc.                        8%                  -8%
    Home Retail Group                49%                 -16%
    Tesco Stores                     21%                 -28%
    * Excludes traffic from public computers such as Internet cafes or access
      from mobile phones or PDAs.
    **Derived from the average weekly visitors to a pre-determined sample of
      leading online retail sites for the period Nov 3 - Nov 30. 

Top 5 French Retail Properties

In France, visitation to online retail sites declined at the comparatively slower rate of 2 percent versus a year ago, with some of the more popular destinations showing positive growth, including Apple Inc. (up 7 percent versus last year), and Otto Gruppe (up 2 percent versus last year). The most visited property was eBay, which increased total visitors by 9 percent in November compared to the base period, followed by two French properties, Groupe PPR (up 21 percent on the base period) and Priceminister.com (up 26 percent).

    Growth Rates for Top 5 Retail Sites in France
    Ranked by Average Weekly French Visitors
    (000)* during First Four Shopping Weeks
    of Christmas Holiday Season**
    Source: comScore World Metrix, 2008
                                   % Change            % Change in
                                   in Average          Average
                                   Weekly              Weekly
                                   Visitors            Visitors
                                   Versus              Versus
                                   2008 Base           Corresponding
                                   Period              Weeks
    France                         Average             Last Year
    Retail                            6%                 -2%
    eBay                              9%                 -3%
    Groupe PPR                       21%                 -6%
    Groupe PriceMinister             26%                  N/A
    Apple Inc.                        9%                  7%
    Otto Gruppe                       4%                  2%
    * Excludes traffic from public computers such as Internet cafes or access
      from mobile phones or PDAs.
    **Derived from the average weekly visitors to a pre-determined sample of
      leading online retail sites for the period Nov 3 - Nov 30. 

Top 5 German Retail Properties

In Germany, visitation to online retail sites was down 7 percent versus a year ago, despite the highest uptick in visitors during the November shopping period (11 percent) of any of the three European markets studied. The most visited retail site in Germany, eBay, saw the number of visitors climb 8 percent in November relative to the base period, while two German properties, Arcandor AG (owner of sites such as Quelle.de and Neckermann.de) and Otto Gruppe, ranked second and third, respectively. Apple Inc. defied the downwards trend versus a year ago, growing 10 percent, while also showing a 22 percent gain over the base period.

    Growth Rates for Top 5 Retail Sites in Germany
    Ranked by Average Weekly German Visitors
    (000)* during First Four Shopping Weeks
    of Christmas Holiday Season**
    Source: comScore World Metrix, 2008
                                   % Change            % Change in
                                   in Average          Average
                                   Weekly              Weekly
                                   Visitors            Visitors
                                   Versus              Versus
                                   2008 Base           Corresponding
                                   Period              Weeks
    Germany                        Average             Last Year
    Retail                           11%                 -7%
    eBay                              8%                -18%
    Arcandor AG                      18%                 N/A
    Otto Gruppe                      28%                -10%
    Amazon Sites                     21%                -15%
    Apple Inc.                       22%                 10%
    * Excludes traffic from public computers such as Internet cafes or access
      from mobile phones or PDAs.
     **Derived from the average weekly visitors to a pre-determined sample of
       leading online retail sites for the period Nov 3 - Nov 30. 

"With consumer confidence low and disposable income tight, this is looking like being a tough season for retailers," said comScore chairman, Gian Fulgoni. "However this is a notoriously resilient industry, and the retail markets appear to be showing signs of life in Europe as Christmas shopping season kicks into high gear. With the recent tax cuts announced by Gordon Brown in the U.K. and similar initiatives planned in France and Germany, it will be interesting to see if Governments and retailers can restore consumer confidence and inspire increased spending in the run-up to Christmas."

About comScore

comScore, Inc. (NASDAQ: SCOR) is a global leader in measuring the digital world and preferred source of digital marketing intelligence. For more information, please visit www.comscore.com/boilerplate

Contact:

Jamie Gavin of comScore, Inc., +44-(0)-207-099-1775,
worldpress@comscore.com. Photo:
http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080115/COMSCORELOGO

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