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August online sales up by 15%

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The coolest August for 17 years helped push online sales for the month up by 15%, compared to last year, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, published today.

That helped push ecommerce sales in the year to date to a 15% jump, higher than the 13% previously predicted.

Multichannel retailers did particularly well, with sales up by a quarter (25%) compared to last August.

In August 2010, according to the index, which sources its data from more than 100 online traders from the Arcadia Group to House of Fraser and the John Lewis Partnership, British shoppers spent £4.4bn over the internet, the equivalent of £72 per person.

The best performance came in electricals, with consumers spending an average of £211 per head. That’s the highest average spend in this category since October 2007. Sales here were up by 28% compared to the same time last year, and 10% compared to July 2010.

Chris Webster, vice president, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini, said: “Several factors could be attributed to the impressive jump, including the introduction of high-tech home entertainment systems and the poor August weather.”

Bruce Fair, managing director at Kelkoo, said: “There’s been a sensational appetite for consumer electronics and gadgets this summer with headline releases including the iPhone4, the Dyson Airblade and the introduction of 3D TV. We expect to see spend on electrical goods rise even more as we approach Christmas, with the excitement already building for new motion capture gaming formats from Xbox 360 and PS3 at the top of many people’s lists.”

The travel sector also showed strong year-on-year growth of 14%, though sales were down by 10% compared to the previous year.

Elsewhere, the clothing, footwear and accessories category was up by 24% compared to the previous year, though down by 13% compared to July 2010. Within that, accessories showed a 74% year-on-year rise, though were down by 18% on July. Beers, wines and spirits were up by 26% compared to last year, but down by 11% on July.

Tina Spooner, director of information at IMRG, said: “August was another good month for e-retailers, with consumer spending up 15% compared to the same month last year.”

She added: “With 31m UK consumers now shopping online, the internet continues to be a lucrative channel for retailers that can adapt to shoppers’ changing behaviour during these uncertain times.”

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