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Online sales grew by 18% in August – IMRG

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Online sales grew by 18% in August, according to new figures, returning to more usual levels of growth after a July heatwave that brought shoppers into stores.

The IMRG-Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index for the month suggests that sales grew last month at the double 9% rate achieved in July. Instead of buying online, the evidence suggests the good weather persuaded people to head for the shops.

But in August it seems the long-term trend returned to normal. Multichannel retailers saw their online sales grow by 17% during the month, while online-only traders enjoyed a 19% boost to sales, compared to the same time last year. Meanwhile, m-commerce sales grew by 133%, year-on-year.

Chris Webster, VP, head of retail consulting at technology at Capgemini , said ecommerce sales were back to more usual levels of growth, and had in August surpassed by three percentage points IMRG predictions for 15% annual growth in 2013. “Consumer confidence is returning as the economy is showing signs of improvement,” he said.

Tina Spooner, of the IMRG , said that the IMRG Capgemini index had recorded 15% growth so far this year, compared to last. “As retailers gear up for the lucrative festive trading period, we anticipate that the UK online retail sector will maintain double-digit growth during the fourth quarter, unseasonal heatwaves permitting,” she said.

Home and garden retailers showed the most striking benefit from last month’s return to strong growth, with sales up 25% on the same time last year. Electricals retailers also saw their sales boosted by 18%, in which IMRG’s Spooner suggested was evidence that consumers were investing in their home and gardens in August.

Meanwhile clothing grew by 18%, up strongly from the 10% growth recorded in July. At the same time, average basket values rose by £5, month-on-month, from £72 in July to £77 in August, in what IMRG saw as a retreat from the heavy discounting that retailers employed earlier in the year.

The IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Index was launched in April 2000 and tracks the sales made by more than 100 ecommerce and multichannel retailers. Data is contributed by names including Top Shop, Boots, House of Fraser and Next.

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