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Apparel boosts UK’s online shopping for February

By
Fibre2Fashion
Published
today Mar 21, 2016
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According to the latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index the strong sales experienced in the UK at the start of the year have continued, with online sales in February recording an 18 per cent annual growth; representing 8.9 billion pounds spent.


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While the increase was building on a disappointing February in 2015 (when growth was just 8 per cent), the results reveal an impressive performance nonetheless, recording the highest year-on-year (YoY) increase announced since June 2015, Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG), the UK’s Online Retail Association said in a press release.

Much of the growth recorded in February was driven by an especially strong month for online clothing sales, which saw a significant YoY spike of 22 per cent; its largest annual growth since June 2013. The clothing sub-sectors enjoyed an equally solid result, with the sale of menswear and accessories increasing 31 per cent and 35 per cent respectively. The colder weather may have had an impact on sales in the UK, with shoppers spending on winter-wear following the unseasonably warm final quarter of 2015.

Valentine’s Day helped give the index a further push with romantics splashing out on presents for their loved ones, resulting in a strong performance in the lingerie sector, with sales up 20 per cent year-on-year. Although the gifts sector fared less well (+6 per cent YoY), sales peaked in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, in line with historical trends.

However, despite a welcome return to double digit growth (15 per cent) in January, following a tough 2015 for this sector, the sale of electrical items was disappointing in February. Online sales dropped 17 per cent month-on-month and recorded an annual increase of just 6 per cent.

Tina Spooner, chief information officer, IMRG said, “Following a strong performance in January, UK e-retail sales continued to accelerate last month, resulting in overall year-on-year growth of 16 per cent, year-to-date. Although this is on the back of a relatively weak performance in Q1 2015, the latest results are impressive and are well ahead of our 11 per cent growth forecast for 2016.”

Richard Tremellen, Retail Insight and Data Specialist, Capgemini, commented: “Despite overall retail sales in February being flat, online growth continues to be strong. This is particularly encouraging given average basket values were up some 11 per cent year on year, indicating factors other than discounting are driving growth. The strong performance in clothing suggests retailer investments in breadth of range, flexible delivery and ease of returns may be paying off for this sector.

“February also saw the continued disparity between sales made via smartphones and tablet devices. While smartphones recorded a healthy 92 per cent annual growth, sales made on tablets grew by just 11 per cent.”

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