10th January 2014
UK online retailers enjoyed a booming festive period with sales jumping almost 20% in December according to the British Retail Consortium writes Philip Scott.
The trade body, which carried out the research with accountancy group KPMG, found that such was the surge in December that online sales represented almost one in five items sold.
In total online sales soared by 19.2% compared to a year earlier, the highest growth in four years while overall UK retail sales were up 0.4% on a like-for-like basis from December 2012, when they had increased 0.3% on the preceding year.
On a total basis, sales were up 1.8%, against a 1.5% increase in December 2012, the lowest growth of 2013.
Helen Dickinson, director general at the British Retail Consortium says: “This is a respectable result overall, in line with our prediction that Christmas trading in 2013 would reflect that while confidence levels were higher than the previous year, this wasn’t always matched by more money in pockets. The last-minute rush also arrived as expected, giving a major boost to sales in the final few days before Christmas after a fairly flat showing mid-month.
“Multichannel is the other big story of the season. This Christmas we’ve seen innovative retailers using click and collect and other approaches to make a virtue of both their website and their physical shops. And that’s something we see growing in importance.”
However the UK’s supermarkets did not fair so well during the season as trading figures from some of the UK’s largest supermarket chains showed that sales suffered as competition from discounters such as Aldi and Lidl rose.
Like for like sales at Morrison dropped by 5.6% in the six weeks to 5 January while Tesco endured a 2.4% fall. In addition Marks & Spencer reported that sales declined for the tenth consecutive quarter.