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January brings yet more growth for online shopping

Rebecca Thomson

Online sales increased another 19% in January as the internet continues to encroach on the high street's traditional turf.

January was a surprisingly upbeat month for retailers in general with overall like-for-like sales increasing by 1.1%, according to figures released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) today.

Internet shopping grew less than it did in December, when Christmas shoppers stayed indoors and boosted growth by a massive 30%.

The trend is becoming increasingly hard for retailers to ignore. It is online retailers such as Amazon that are bucking the gloomy economic trends, and companies will need well-performing websites to keep up with the changing habits of consumers.

But despite this increasing reliance, the medium is still in its infancy. Online shopping for non-food goods still accounts for only 4% of retail sales.

Shoppers in January particularly took advantage of online clearance sales which they were able to research and order from their own homes, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) said. This was especially useful for those put off by the snowy weather.

Sharon Hardiman, head of non-store retailing at the BRC, said of the growth, "Some was due to the various promotions and clearance sales. Non-food sales in-store were down on last year in contrast to the strong growth among the much smaller proportion of non-food sales that happen online."


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