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Online sales grew by 12.3% in March: BRC

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Online sales turned in double-digit growth in March, according to figures from the British Retail Consortium today.

Ecommerce sales of non-food products grew by 12.3% during the month, compared to the same time last year, the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor for March 2015 found. Then, sales were up by 12.8%. The figure for this March is the highest since October 2014, and represents 17.6% of total non-food retail sales during the month. Last March, online sales accounted for 16.9%.

“The steady advance of online sales and the continuation of a strong penetration rate is good for retailers with an online presence, considering people tend to spend more of their money on the high street in the run up to Easter,” said Helen Dickinson, director general of the BRC .

UK retail sales, meanwhile, grew by 4.7% during the month in total. Like-for-like sales, which strip out the effect of store openings and closures, were up by 3.2%. Online growth contributed 1.4 percentage points to the overall growth of non-food sales.

Strong growth came in the furniture and toys and baby equipment categories. Dickinson said branded goods and full-price sales marked sales trends during the month.

The BRC analysis also found consumers responded to a move by brands to feature their products on websites operated by well-established, mature retailers.

“With full-price items whizzing off the online shelves, this questions the view that people mainly shop online purely to get a bargain,” said Dickinson. “We are seeing an interesting trend with brands seeking to be sold through retailers’ established high quality websites, leveraging their success with consumers.”

David McCorquodale, head of retail at professional services firm KPMG , said: “Good weather and the long Easter break saw shoppers choose shops over screens as they hit the high street and enjoyed the sunshine. Many retailers used this trend to their advantage, launching digital campaigns to drive footfall in stores by tempting shoppers in with emails promoting new ranges and money off vouchers.

“This demand-led approach proves that online and in-store are simply two sides of the same coin for a successful retailer.”

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