Online sales boost lacklustre UK retail figures

Despite relatively flat growth for the retail sector, the online sales figures grew by 15.6% in 2012, according to KPMG

The latest research from KPMG and the British Retail Consortium (BRC) shows online shopping is still growing, despite a slowdown in the industry overall.

Figures from the annual sales monitor study by the two organisations, published today, showed overall retail sales values in the UK rose just 0.1% compared to the numbers from July 2011.

However, online sales managed to grow by 15.6% in the past year, up from the 9.6% rise shown last summer.

"Online retailers have enjoyed their biggest boost since Christmas,” said Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC. “July 2011 did give us a relatively weak comparison, but an increase of 15.6 per cent is strong nonetheless.”

Robertson cited the recent “miserable weather” and clothing retailers releasing next season’s fashions as the two major drivers towards this boost in sales. However, stores still have to put in the effort to attract customers. 

"Much of the online sales growth has been dependent on eye-catching promotions as competing retailers cut into their margins to attract business,” added the director general.

“There’s also evidence of click-and-collect services growing in popularity as shoppers become more confident about using the full range of shopping options available to them thanks to new technology."

Despite the positive nature of the numbers, the report warned that online sales was “still a very small proportion of total UK retail sales,” accounting for just 9% of the overall figures.


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