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August 20, 2010    

Internet sales soar in July due to wet weather

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by Kay Murchie

IMRG, an industry body for global e-retailing, has reported online sales soared in July - at the quickest pace in three years.

According to the industry body, the rain discouraged shoppers from venturing onto the high street and opting to purchase from the comfort of their own home.

According to IMRG, £5 billion was spent in July - higher than any other month in 2010, with the average UK consumer spending £81.

Online sales were 18% higher in July compared with a year earlier.

Commenting, Chris Webster, head of retail consulting and technology at Cap Gemini, which publishes the online sales index with IMRG, said: “Although online retail sales survived the recession more convincingly than High Street sales, the last two years or so have no doubt been shaky at times.”

He added: “It is really encouraging to see growth levels returning to those seen pre-2007 and before consumer confidence was knocked by the financial crisis and the recession.”

The figures come just a day after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said UK retail sales grew much faster than expected in July.

According to the ONS, retail sales during the month grew 1.1% on the month – beating analysts forecasts of 0.4%.

This represented the highest month-on-month growth since February.

On an annual basis, sales were 1.3% higher – again, better than the 0.6% expected by analysts, said the ONS.

While both sets of figures will boost hopes that consumer spending is recovering, the British Chambers of Commerce warned “there is no room for complacency” as the tough austerity measures introduced by the Government have yet to take effect.

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