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Online retail sales return to double digit growth in September

New figures have shown that UK online retail sales returned to double digit growth in September following a weak August.

GENERAL MERCHANDISE

Online retail sales return to double digit growth in September

New figures have shown that UK online retail sales returned to double digit growth in September following a weak August.

The latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index reveal that online retail sales recorded a 12% increase on the same period last year. The index grew by 10% during the third quarter of 2015 with the year-to-date growth also at 10%.

The September performance was boosted by the late summer bank holiday which fell within the first week of the month, helping the index grow by 8% on August. IMRG Capgemini said the growth was still slightly lower than might have been expected and that the Indian summer experienced in many parts of the country was likely to have been a contributing factor.

Parents updating back-to-school wardrobes helped the clothing sector to record 12% year-on-year year-on-year growth, although that was on top of flat September growth in 2014.

Alex Smith-Bingham, head of digital, consumer products and retail at Capgemini, said: “Whilst it’s reassuring to see the index return to double digit growth, it’s not as strong as the sector would have liked. With the Rugby World Cup, the warm weather and the late Bank Holiday, retailers could be forgiven for expecting a better performance in September. As we approach the busy Christmas period, and with Black Friday just a few weeks away, it will be interesting to see whether British shoppers have intentionally held back for the heavy discounting the festive season brings.”

The home sector reported a strong month with an increase of 47% year-on-year. Meanwhile, the electricals sector saw an increase of 6.4% as sales were boosted by the launch of the new iPhone 6S.

Andy Mulcahy, editor at IMRG: “It’s been a very topsy-turvy year so far in 2015 for online retail growth – we had a slow Q1, a strong Q2 and now an average Q3. While we might have expected growth to be higher in September – it was building on flat growth in September 2014 – the prolonged period of very warm weather will have impacted upon shopper behaviour so it’s going to be interesting to see what kind of Q4 we get; certainly all the indicators are suggesting that the Black Friday peak will evolve again to become an even bigger shopping event than it was last year.”

Sales made via mobile devices saw an annual increase of 41% in September. In the year-to-date, they climbed by 43%, compared to 46% at the same point in 2014.

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