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Online sales grew by 13.1% in April: ONS

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Online sales grew by 13.1% in April, according to official figures out today.

The value of ecommerce sales hit an average of £801.8m each week, an estimated 13.1% up on the same month last year, and 3.7% ahead of March 2015, according to today’s Retail Sales, April 2015 report from the Office for National Statistics. Some 12.2% of all retail spending, excluding automotive fuel, took place online.

At the same time overall UK retail sales, across all channels, grew by 4.7% compared with last year. This, says the ONS, “was the 25th consecutive month of year-on-year growth, the longest period of sustained growth since May 2008.”

Online, the fastest growth came from household goods retailers, where the value of online sales grew by 18.8%, year-on-year, to account for 6.2% of all retail sales in the sector. Textile, clothing and footwear stores saw sales rise by 16.5% to reach 11.8%.

Internet food sales grew by 9.4% to reach 4% of total sales in the sector, while non-food online sales saw an average growth of 10.9%. But department stores, which have previously seen strong online growth, turned in ecommerce sales growth of 4.1% and account for 10.2% of all sales in the sector.

Commenting on the figures, Keith Richardson, managing director retail sector at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking, said: “Retail sales bounced back from the disappointment of the previous month as the arrival of warmer spring weather prompted shoppers to spruce up their wardrobes.

“Fashion retailers took advantage of the sunniest April on record with sales of sandals, canvas shoes and denims all performing well, as they did for beauty products such as suncreams and tanning products. Consumers also continued to improve their homes, buying new furniture along with BBQs as shoppers sought to take advantage of the unseasonal warm weather.

“However despite consumer confidence improving, they are still a tough crowd to please. Sales may be up, but that is still largely thanks to discounts and promotions, meaning that retailers will still feel like they are swimming against the tide.”

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