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Online sales grew by 8.9% in March, while overall retail spending fell: ONS

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Online sales grew by almost 9% in March, even as overall retail spending fell in value, the latest official figures suggested this week.

For while ecommerce transactions grew by 8.9%, compared with the same month a year earlier, the amount spent in the overall UK retail industry fell by 0.1% on a year earlier, and by 1.3% on the previous month.

The volume of retail sales grew by 2.7% on last year – a figure that has now increased for 35 consecutive months. The amount bought was 1.3% down on last year.

Shoppers spent £859.6m a week online, 13.2% of the £6.8bn spent on average each week in March 2016. Over the month as a whole, £34.2bn changed hands in the industry.

Household goods stores collectively enjoyed an ecommerce lift of 37.1% on the same month last year, and online sales accounted for 8.8% of sales in the sector. Department stores followed with a 21.1% ecommerce boost, to account for 12.4% of sales in the sector. Online food sales grew by 5.8% to account for 4.4% of sales in the sector.

Meanwhile, textile, clothing and footwear sales fell by 6.2%, accounting for 11.5% of the sector total.

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