The latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) show that internet, mail order and telephone sales were 15.5% higher in February 2010 than in February 2009. The very cold and wet weather, and shoppers receiving catalogues whose delivery had been delayed by snow, helped to boost sales, says the BRC.
Overall UK retail sales rose 2.2% on a like-for-like basis from February 2009, when sales had dropped 1.8%, hit by snow and consumer caution. On a total basis, sales rose 4.5% against only 0.1% growth in February 2009.
"This is good growth," says Sharon Hardiman, the BRC's head of non-store retailing. "Slightly up on January and up on February a year ago."
"Some of it was a catch-up on sales held over from the previous month, particularly where catalogues were late reaching customers," she explained. "Promotions and clearances helped but also the range of goods and retailers available online is still expanding and customers are steadily becoming more comfortable with this way of shopping."