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Summer sales boost ecommerce growth in June: BRC

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Fashion discounts in the summer sales gave a boost to ecommerce during June. Online sales grew by 17.6% compared to the same month last year, according to new figures from the British Retail Consortium today.

The BRC-KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor for June 2015 found ecommerce accounted for 18.4% of total UK retail sales during the month.

The figures contrast with last June, when internet sales had grown by 10.6%, and reflect the best online performance, said the BRC, since August 2014. During June online sales outperformed both the three-month and 12-month averages of 14.6% and 12.6% respectively. In the previous month of May, ecommerce sales grew by a more lacklustre 9.9%,

The fastest growth came in the clothing and footwear categories, while sellers of toys and baby equipment reported their best online growth since January.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium , said: “Online retail sales have experienced the best growth since August 2014, largely driven by fashion promotions. As ever, websites are popular during the sales, providing greater clarity of stock availability for consumers. For retailers, online is an increasingly useful tool to reach customers selectively and showcase their offer. Online sales strength is also shown in the fact its contribution to three month non-food sales growth has reached its highest proportion since December 2013. This highlights the variety of digitally-focused roles in the retail industry. It also shows the increasing demand for skilled people to develop sophisticated online operations and a seamless connection between physical and digital space.”

BRC analysis showed that growth came strongly from the fashion sector, with retailers starting summer sales earlier than usual in a move that coincided with a heat wave at the end of June.

Online contributed 2.1 percentage points to overall sales growth in UK non-food retail sales during June. Overall, total UK retail sales grew by 2.9%, compared to a 0.6% rise in June 2014. They were up by 1.8% on a like-for-like basis; last June they fell by 0.8%.

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG , said: “Non-food online sales soared to record levels in June, up 17.6% – the highest level of growth this year – as the real benefits of the virtual aisle shone through. With temperatures soaring, consumers chose to click for summer fashion and festival chic rather than swelter on the high street.

“Unsurprisingly online sales in the health and beauty sector saw a particular boost as shoppers topped up on sun cream and beauty essentials to stay safe from the sun’s rays.”

Food sales grew in June for the seventh month in a row, meanwhile.

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of grocery analyst the IGD, said: “With deflation easing, there are various reasons to believe that food retail sales might have turned a corner although optimism is tempered by the many uncertainties in the global economy.”

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