Alexander & James is Diageo's (LSE: DGE) (NYSE: DEO.US) first foray into eCommerce that directly targets customers seeking the multinational alcoholic beverages company's premium labels, Blue Label and Gold Label Reserve Johnnie Walkers, Tanqueray No. 10, Cîroc, Ketel One and selected single malts such as Cragganmore, Singleton and CaolIla.
By launching the website, Diageo aims to capitalise on the ever-increasing trend to buy online and will sell directly to "discerning shoppers" in the UK.
Alexander & James managing director Philippa Dickson commented:
"We created Alexander & James in response to the way people are seeking to purchase luxury items online. We identified an opportunity to create a luxury e-commerce platform that would be engaging and inspiring, bringing the brand product credentials to life - craftsmanship, heritage, provenance.
"Alexander & James is more than an online shop, it provides ideas that will appeal to the lifestyle of the discerning person alongside new and beautifully packaged gift ideas. It is a white glove, end to end luxury brand experience where people will be able to learn about our spirits and receive expert advice on food pairing and mixology ideas for every occasion. We provide the ease of making a well-informed purchase online."
On a day that saw the Office for National Statistics reveal that UK retail sales fell in January, despite analysts having predicted a rise, the move could prove to be a canny one for Diageo. Volumes were down 0.6% year on year, although heavy snowfall in the month was blamed for the decrease in footfall. It ought to be pointed out, too, that larger retailers fared better than their smaller counterparts, while the amount spent online accounted for 10.1% of all retail spending (excluding fuel).
With innovative strategies like the launch of Alexander & James and increasing its spend on key markets, I believe Diageo can continue to grow over the next few years, having already seen earnings increase at a rate of 14% per year over the last five.
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