Online sales grow at fastest rate in three years

Online retailers of non-food items put in their best performance since March 2010 in December, according to new figures announced today.

Sales grew at 19.2% last month versus an increase of 18.4% a year earlier, data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) survey carried out by KPMG shows.

In clothing, online sales represented 21.2% of sales in December, up from 18% in 2012. Comments from retailers such as Sainsbury’s suggested popular items mirrored those purchased those in store, which included onesies.

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But overall UK retail sales grew by just 0.4% on a like-for-like basis. The news follows a string of poor Christmas trading figures from high street stores such as Debenhams, Marks & Spencer and Tesco.

BRC director general Helen Dickinson said: “As expected, more of us clicked into Christmas than ever before, with online non-food sales growth putting in its best performance since March 2010 and accounting for nearly 20 per cent of spending.

“The surge in the use of tablets and smartphones last year, together with the ever faster delivery times achieved by an increasing number of retailers, have provided a new spur of growth to online shopping,” she added.

KPMG head of retail David McCorquodale commented: "Whilst store sales continue to flatline, online sales remain the main driver of growth for the sector, contributing nearly three quarters of the uptick in non-food sales in the last quarter of 2013.”

"The winners this Christmas were those retailers with slick multichannel operations, who could offer consumers the flexibility to shop how, and when, they wanted to,” he said.




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