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Online sales grow 13.4% on last year – but are down compared to last month: ONS

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The UK’s online shoppers together spent £728.9m a week over the internet in June 2014, 13.4% more than in the same month last year, according to government figures. However, they spent 0.1% less than they did in May 2014 – the first monthly decrease since the post-Christmas slump seen in January 2014.

Some 11.3% of all retail spending took place online last month, the Office for National Statistics’ Retail Sales report for June 2014 estimated, up from 10.4% in June 2013. But while department stores have, as a category, in recent months enjoyed the fastest internet growth, the story was different in June. Online spending on textile, clothing and footwear ecommerce grew by 20.6% on last year, accounting for 11.8% of total spending in the category, but department store sales grew by a more restrained 10.3%, with sales accounting for 10.3% of all retail spending in these stores. “This,” said the ONS report, “is the lowest spend online in this store type since November 2011 (9.5%).”

Online food sales grew more quickly – up by 14.5% – but are still at a low base of 3.7% of all food spending. Household goods stores saw online sales grow by 5.5% to account for 5.8% of all retail sales.

Overall, retail sales grew by 3.6% in quantity June 2014, compared to the same time last year, and by 0.1% compared with the previous month, May. Meanwhile, the amount spent on retail goods rose by 3.5% on last year, and 0.8% on last month, totalling £35.3bn in the five-week reporting period of June, up from £34.1bn in June 2013 and from £27.8bn in the four week reporting period of May 2014. June saw an average weekly spend of £7.1bn a week, compared to £6.9bn a week in May 2014. Sales grew across all sectors.

Commenting on the figures, Claire Davenport, managing director at, said: “Today’s announcement of a 0.1% increase in the ONS Retail Sales in June will undoubtedly see retailers cheering – however other market indicators are reminding us not to get too ahead of ourselves.

“While the increase comes as part of a long held period of growth for retail sales, the ONS consumer prices index rose to 1.9% in June, raising fears that cost-of-living still remains an issue that could impact retail. To combat these pressures retailers should strive to win sales by optimising customer experience, for example by strengthening their mobile offering.”

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