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Online sales grew by 8.3% in August: ONS

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Online shoppers spent an average of £707.7m a week buying from UK retailers in August, 8.3% more than at the same time last year, according to official figures.

The proportion of sales made online fell by 0.2% in August to account for 11% of all sales during the month, the ONS Retail Sales Monitor for August 2014 found.

The fastest ecommerce growth came from textile, clothing and footwear stores, where the value of sales rose by 27.3% compared to the same time last year. In this sector, online sales accounted for 11.8% of all sales.

Department store sales grew by 20.1% last month to 10.9% of all sales, while houshold goods stores saw ecommerce sales increase by 12.1% to make up 5.7% of all stores.

Across the retail industry, sales increased by 3.9% in quantity on last year, but by 0.4% on the previous month, July 2014. The amount spent rose by 2.7% on last year and 0.2% on last month.

Across channels, furniture stores enjoyed their best month since records began in 1988, with sales up by 23.4%. Electrical appliance sales also rose, a lift thought to have come courtesy of EU energy saving regulations that banned the sale of high powered vacuum cleaners at the end of August.

But average store prices fell by 1.2% in August compared to August 2013. That was the largest fall since July 2009, with causes thought to include the slowing price of petrol, down 5% on last year.

The retail sales monitor estimates figures based on a monthly survey of 5,000 retailers including all large retailers who employ 100 people or more.

Commenting on the figures, John Pincott, managing director, Europe, Shopatron, said: “August’s figures continue to prove that we’re a nation of shoppers. Key to this continued growth are internet sales. Although the proportion of sales for online is down slightly this month, the remarkable increase in the actual amount spent online year-on-year may be an indication of consumers’ increased faith in online as a channel through which to make those bigger, more costly purchases.

“As the pervasiveness of multichannel technologies and services increase, such as click and collect, delivery slots and third party delivery locations, we can only expect this desire to buy bigger tickets items online to also rise. Consumers desire for convenience, and smaller to mid-sized retailers wanting to compete with the high-street giants need to act now to satisfy this demand, efficiently manage their inventory across online and offline channels and take their slice of the pie.”

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