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UK online sales grew by 19.8% in August: BRC

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UK online sales grew quickly in August as families prepared to go back to school, BRC figures showed today.

The BRC-KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor for August 2014 showed online sales of non-food products grew at 19.8% last month compared to the same time last year. That’s the fastest growth recorded since the online monitor started in December 2012.

In August, online sales represented 16.5% of non-food sales – up from the 14.8% of sales that they represented in August 2013.

“Customers are really responding well to retailers who have worked hard on developing websites that are attractive and provide customers with a fulfilling user experience,” said Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium . “This growth has not been consigned to one area with all categories of items seeing healthy online sales.”

The figures came as total retail sales – taking place across all channels – rose by 2.7% in August, and by 1.3% on a like-for-like basis.

Dickinson added: “Parents have been spending a considerable amount online with back-to-school items showing particularly strong online sales. The results show great promise for an increase in online spending, especially with Christmas approaching. As shoppers turn their attention towards Christmas we expect the volume of sales transacted online to accelerate, although we expect them to interact across all channels as part of the shopping journey.”

Some 22% of clothing and 22.6% of online footwear sales took place online during the month, along with 15.9% of homewares sales, the figures suggested.

David McCorquodale, head of retail, KPMG , said: “The summer has been a good test of retailers’ online capabilities and many have used this to refine their systems before we enter the autumn/winter trading period. The continued growth of online sales reflects these successes.

“This has been time well spent. Those with a truly seamless multichannel operation will be the winners this Christmas, and those with less than perfect systems will see their flaws exposed as the sheer volume of customer orders will test their operation to the limit.”

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