Christmas boost for online sales
retail: More signs that shoppers are shunning the high street have emerged with figures showing an 18 per cent jump in internet sales at Christmas.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said online sales grew at the fastest rate for a year in crucial December trading, as shoppers with smartphones and tablets benefited from more sophisticated websites and click and collect services.
Despite the cyber boost, it was still an "underwhelming" month for retailers, with overall like-for-like sales edging up just 0.3 per cent, according to the closely watched survey from the BRC and KPMG.
Retail giants John Lewis, House of Fraser and Next – the first to provide Christmas trading updates – have all reported a surge in online sales.
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Helen Dickinson, the director general of the BRC, said the "stand-out" online performance came after slower momentum in the previous few months.
She said: "Many valued the ease and convenience of shopping online during the Christmas period. The surging popularity of tablets and smartphones giving even better access is a major factor."
She also said shoppers felt much more comfortable putting their credit card details into their mobile phones.
Electrical retailers also benefited from the demise of rival Comet, which closed its final stores last month, and the popularity of earmuff headphones.