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Ecommerce sales grew in April, with boost from mobile commerce, while high street sales fell

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Ecommerce sales grew during April, with many retailers reporting that sizeable proportions of their online transactions came via mobile commerce, the British Retail Consortium said today.

Internet sales during the month rose by 8.3%, slightly lower than the 9% growth turned in last April, today’s BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor showed. Growth contrasted with a 0.6% fall in total retail sales during the month, which were down by 2.2% on a like-for-like basis. Last April total sales fell by 1%.

The BRC said that a number of retailers had reported mobile commerce now made up “a significant proportion of their online orders – generally one in five – and they are investing in new apps.”

Retailers also reported that sales slowed as they moved towards consistent crosschannel pricing. Those with smaller stores reported the benefits of using technology such as tablet computers to showcase the wider product range.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Online sales of non-food goods picked up well as the month progressed with a very strong finish driven by seasonal clothing and footwear, which sold as the weather improved. Ultimately, sales growth was up on the previous month’s weak performance, confirming that was a short-lived blip.

“But because April this year lacked the Easter boost, online sales growth for the whole month was still left slightly below the long-term trend. Some retailers said they were moving away from heavy online discounting. That is slowing their growth now but suggests confidence in longer-term levels of demand.”

Retail sectors that saw overall growth included health and beauty and clothing, but footwear, furniture and home accessories and textiles were all down. Food, affected by the fact that Easter fell in March this year but April last, was the second poorest performing category.

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of grocery analyst the IGD, said: “Spending on food and groceries was more restrained in April as a whole, partly due to Easter falling in March and the arctic spring at the start of the month.

“Better weather in the last week of April provided a small boost and food companies will hope this improvement is sustained, with shoppers taking full advantage of the two May bank holidays.”

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