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UK shoppers buy more online in July: BRC

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UK shoppers bought more of their shopping online in July, according to British Retail Consortium (BRC) figures, helping ecommerce to make its strongest contribution of the year to overall retail growth.

But the growth came against a background of subdued overall growth, with like-for-like sales down by 0.3% last month.

The monthly BRC-KPMG Online Retail Sales Monitor for July 2014 showed online sales of non-food products up by 14.9% during the month compared to the same time last year, when they rose by 7.9%.

Online sales represented 16.7% of non-food sales last month, up from 15.3% in July 2013. At the same time, online sales contributed 1.6 percentage points to the growth of non-food sales last month.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium , said: “Online retail sales contributed generously to the growth of non-food retail sales. On a three-month basis it was the highest recorded this year and almost matched stores’ contribution.”

Despite this, total retail sales in July grew by 1.3% compared to last year, with like-for-like sales down by 0.3%, according to the BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor, also out today. Last July total sales grew by 3.9%, and like-for-like sales by 2.2%.

She added: “July has seen good online growth and, for non-food products, one in every six pounds is now spent online.

“The figures are somewhat flattered this July as last year online activity was low due to successful sporting activities attracting people to other types of screens. Nevertheless, online sales of furniture and toys looked particularly healthy.”

July’s online sales growth, of 14.9%, is in line with the 12-month average of 14.7%. Since a year ago the 12-month average stood at 9.9%, the BRC says a “clear acceleration” in sales can be seen, which it puts down to the increased use of mobile, tablets, click and collect and the increasing sophistication of websites. In particular, it points to established websites who already enjoy high levels of traffic and who are partnering with complementary retailers to become favourite destinations within their category.

David McCorquodale, head of retail at KPMG , said: “Despite the glorious sunshine, retailers managed to capture shoppers’ attention online through the use of targeted and innovative digital campaigns, linking products to holiday plans, festivals and sporting events taking place across the UK.

“This clever use of customer data and technology paid dividends for the sector, with non-food online sales soaring to record levels.”

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