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Growth of online retail to be focus of Olympic business legacy event

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The fast growth of the UK’s ecommerce industry will be highlighted at a Government-organised business event held to mark the Olympics.

The UK online retail market will grow by 13% in 2012, to £77bn, according to figures from etail trade association the IMRG. That puts the UK market second only to the US in market value.

“That means that British retailers export more than the rest of Europe’s e-retailers put together,” said John Andrews, managing director of IMRG.

“It is a huge business – last year our research found there were 228,000 UK online retail businesses now, an estimated 30% more than than the year before.” By 2015, there were expected to be 1.5m businesses, he said.

Now this British dominance in online retail is to be a key subject for discussion at an event to be held this summer by the British Business Embassy, part of UK Trade & Investment’s Olympic business legacy programme.

Speakers and participants at the embassy’s Retail, Food and Drink day, on August 9, include John Andrews, managing director of etail trade association IMRG, Nick Robertson, chief executive of Asos, Stephen Robertson, director general of the British Retail Consortium and Marc Bolland, chief executive of Marks & Spencer.

The day will cover online and multichannel retail, as well as sustainable approaches to meeting the demands of the global consumer. Participants will consider how the UK’s innovations can impact globally aand explore how international and UK companies can collaborate and partner in the future.

M-commerce is set to be a key part of the debate. “All over the world, in emerging as well as mature economies, the use of mobile internet is rapidly increasing,” said Andrews. “In the UK, shopping through mobile devices is continuing to grow at remarkable speed with sales through mobile devices penetrating the 5% barrier of total e-retail sales for the first time in Q4 2011.”

Lord Green, minister for UK Trade & Investment, said: “We will be welcoming 3,000 UK and international business leaders at Lancaster House for one of the country’s most ambitious series of business summits. London 2012 offers a unique opportunity for global leaders to meet, debate and do business. It is also a chance for us to demonstrate our outstanding expertise, skills and knowledge in all sectors and share this with the world.”

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