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May online sales grew compared to last year – but fell compared to last month: ONS

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The value of online sales grew by 7.4% in May compared to the same month last year – but fell compared to the same time last year, official figures suggested today.

The Office for National Statistics estimates in its Retail sales report for May 2015 that online sales fell by 2.1% compared with April 2015. In May ecommerce accounted for 12% of all retail sales.

At the same time, the report found, the volume, or number, of UK retail sales across all sales channels grew by 4.6%, year on year, and by 0.2%, month on month. But the amount spent grew more slowly, by 1.8% comapred with last May and 0.2% compared with April 2015, as store prices fell by an average of 2.7%, including petrol.

On average, an estimated £7.1bn was spent each week in the retail industry in May 2015, while £791.3m was spent online.

Within the 7.4% year-on-year growth in online sales, household goods stores saw their ecommerce sales grow fastest at 18.5%, to account for 6.3% of all sales. Department stores’ online sales grew by 10.6% to account for 10.7% of all sales, while textile, clothing and furniture online sales grew at their slowest ate since 2008 – at 0.8%, and accounted for 11.4% of all retail sales in the sector.

Commenting on the figures, Dan Wagner, founder and chief executive of Powa Technologies, said: “Today’s sale results make it clear business leaders now need to wake up and realise that the retail landscape is changing and if they fail to change with it they will continue to see disappointing retail sales figures over and over again.

“Consumer preference for traditional retailing has fluctuated repeatedly this year due to factors such as holiday timing and the weather. Retailers can no longer afford to think in terms of online verses offline, and must be capable of thriving in both fields together. They need to seriously rethink how they connect with their customers and grab their attention – they must adopt an omnichannel approach.”

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