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Online sales show their fastest growth in six months, though total sales fall: BRC

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Online sales growth returned to double digits in April following a lacklustre start to the year, new figures from the British Retail Consortium suggest.

Internet sales of non-food products rose by 15.4% in April, according to the BRC-KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor for the month. Online also accounted for 17.6% of all UK retail non-food spending. That was up from 15.9% in April 2014.

“This is the best online growth since October, which brings the three-month average roughly in line with the twelve-month average of 12.5 per cent,” said Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium. “Considering that almost one pound in every five is spent online for non-food goods, the growth figure is testament to the great British online retail offering. Indeed April recorded the highest contribution to overall growth of non-food since December 2013.

“Fashion and beauty performed particularly strongly, with three of those categories – clothing, footwear and health & beauty – achieving their best online growth for over two years, while stores also displayed healthy sales increases for those products.

“Retailers will welcome this result achieved without significantly higher promotional activities.”

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG , said: “The online channel recovered in April to record its best month for half a year and contributed significantly to retail sales growth. This month’s figures highlight that online sales remain a crucial pillar of retailers’ revenues and an important channel for the consumer.

“With a majority Government now in place, retailers will welcome the stability which allows them to invest with confidence in omnichannel capabilities and adapt to changing consumer demands.”

The figures came as the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor showed that overall retail spending fell by 1.3%, and by 2.3% on a like-for-like basis, which strips out the effect of store openings and closures. The BRC adjusted the figures for the effect of deflation, based on its own Shop Price Index, and said that after that calculation, total growth was 0.6%.

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