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Online growth outstrips February’s boost to the high street

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Online sales grew by 10.1% in February, well ahead of a 2.6% growth in total retail sales, official figures suggested today.

An estimated £6.3bn was spent each week in February, 2.6% up from £6.1bn at the same time last year, according to the Office for National Statistics’ Retail Sales figures for February. And 9.7% of all retail spending, excluding automotive fuel, took place over the internet last month.

An average of £2.7bn was spent on food each week in February. Of that, £97.3m, or 3.6%, was spent online. That’s up from 3.3% at the same time last year. The food sector sees the lowest proportion of online spending of any sector.

Department stores saw average weekly spending of £2.5bn, of which £177.9m, or 7.2%, was spent online.

An average £0.7bn was spent at retailers of textiles, clothing and footwear each week with £62.6m, or 9.2%, spent online. Household goods stores saw average weekly sales of £0.5bn in February, with £26.4m (4.9%) spent online.

And in February non-store retailers took an average of £0.4bn a year, with 64.5% of spending (£265.3m) taking place online. Non-store retailers include stalls, markets and mail order businesses as well as internet-only retailers.

The figures also showed a difference between the sales growth enjoyed by retailers of varying sizes. Larger retailers employing more than 100 people saw sales grow by an average of 3.8% in value in February, while smaller retailers, employing between 10 and 39 people, enjoyed sales growth of 6.9%, in value.

The ONS’ Retail Sales figures are based on a monthly survey of 5,000 UK retailers of all sizes, including all retailers who employ more than 100 people.

Tableau Software has produced a visualisation of the data in today’s ONS figures, which can be seen here:

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