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Online clothing sales soar 34% in February

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Despite reports of dire trading on the high street, rising demand for fashion online continued in February 2010, with clothing, footwear and accessory sales up 34% year-on-year. And despite competing against the New Year sales period, fashion sales were up 6% compared to January. Accessory sales alone rose 57% compared to 2010 and footwear sales jumped 28% year-on-year and 11% month-on-month.

Shoppers in the UK spent a total of £4.9bn online during February, equivalent to £79 per person. This is 20% more than the same period last year, according to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index. British consumers have spent £10bn online during January and February, far exceeding earlier expectations.

Jonathan Brown, head of online selling at John Lewis said fashion sales for February were 50% ahead of 2010. “Womenswear was up over 70% with outstanding performances from Hobbs, LK Bennet and Kaliko. It was also great to see accessories and beauty exceed last year's sales by over 70% and women's shoes selling particularly well.” He said that overall online sales were up over 22% on the year.

The e-Retail Sales Index reveals alcohol also achieved a massive increase in February as Brits stocked up ahead of the expected increase in duty in the Budget at the end of March. Alcohol sales leapt 37% on January and up 25% on February 2010. Home and garden was up 37% for February year-on-year, although down by 25% compared to January, reflecting the start of year Sales.

Chris Webster, head of retail consulting and technology at Capgemini said: “February was a good month for online retail, up 20% on the same period last year. This increase is on the back of a very solid second half to 2010 and whilst some of the growth can be attributed to a weak start last year, nearly £5bn spent online is very significant and in stark contrast to the weak sales experienced by the traditional bricks and mortar retailers.”

Tina Spooner, director of information at IMRG comments: “The February Index results paint an optimistic picture for the e-retail market, especially when compared with the poor performance of traditional retail sales last month. UK shoppers spent a staggering £10bn online during January and February, a clear indicator of how strong consumer confidence is in the online channel even during a period in which high street spending is down.”
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