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October sales growth slows online

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Online sales growth slowed in October, according to the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

The BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor for October 2010, published today, found that non-food internet, mail order and telephone sales rose by 12.8% that month, compared to the previous October. It shows a falling-back in expansion since the 19.1% growth in sales reported in September 2010.

On the high street, meanwhile, sales were up by just 0.8% on a like-for-like basis – stripping out the effect of store openings and closures – while total sales rose by 2.4%. In October 2009 like-for-like sales growth on the previous year came in at 3.8% growth.

Stephen Robertson, director general of the BRC, said weak consumer confidence was holding back growth in sales. The latest BRC Nielsen Consumer Confidence Survey, he pointed out, showed 84% of consumers thought the economy was still in recession, while 26% said they had no spare cash.

Robertson said: “There’s no escaping the difficult trading conditions, even online, where sales growth has eased off after two strong months. The comparison is with a strong performance a year ago, but this is the second weakest figure of 2010. Online retailers will be hoping to reverse that trend in the run up to Christmas, but, with consumer confidence low, many will be promoting even harder to coax wary shoppers into spending on discretionary items.”

Non-store sales, the BRC category that includes online, currently account for around 6% of total UK retail sales.

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