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Online sales blossom in June

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Online sales rose again in June, according to industry figures published today.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) found that the value of internet, mail order and telephone sales rose by 17.3% in June compared to the same time last year. The rise is the second-highest of the year, though weaker than the 21.9% rise seen in May. However the BRC said that the May figures came against a weak May last year, while June last year was a strong month for retail sales.

Stephen Robertson, BRC director general, said: “This is another good month’s growth – the second highest of the year. Sunny weather and early clearance sales boosted clothing and outdoor goods. The World Cup buoyed demand for televisions.

“Starting from a low base, non-store retailing continues to grow by double digits as it gains more familiarity and confidence with customers.”

He said that the effects of the Budget on spending would not be seen until its effects became a reality for consumers.

The growth online came against a background of a small rise in overall UK sales. Total sales in all categories rose by 3.4% in June, but when measured on a like-for-like basis, the growth was of 1.2%.

Helen Dickinson, head of retail at KPMG, said: “Trundling along is an apt description for this month’s sales. While the World Cup did impact performance on individual days and provide a welcome uplift for some, it did not shift overall spending patterns much one way or the other.

“While the emergency Budget has delayed any impact of the VAT rise until later this year/early next, the effect of the wider fiscal tightening measures on consumer spending remains to be seen. The risk is all on the downside.”

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