Online sales jump 30% despite "dreadful" Christmas for retailers


Online sales jump 30% despite "dreadful" Christmas for retailers

Rebecca Thomson

Online sales grew 30% over Christmas, despite it being the "worst December in history" for many retailers.

While overall UK retail sales fell 3.3% on a like-for-like basis, the British Retail Consortium reported that online sales grew by a third compared to December 2007.

Online sales grew by 16.6% year on year in November, reflecting the increasing trust consumers have in websites. December's growth was stronger than November, the BRC said, because, it said, "People were more confident about online shopping and several stores had later last order dates than last Christmas".

But despite the growth of online shopping, retail experts still branded the figures "dreadful". The food sector was the only one to show growth, and even this was at the slowest rate since March.

Stephen Robertson, director general at the BRC, said, "Non-food retailers had a torrid December despite a blizzard of promotions and deals, which would have hit margins. Many hard-pressed customers could not be seduced into spending."

Sharon Hardiman, head of non-store retailing at the BRC, said online shopping's strong performance was not enough to make up for the rest of the retail sector.

She said, "While this is a fast-growing sector, it still represents too small a part of total spending to compensate for the poor performance of retailing overall."

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