April 30, 2004, 12:00 AM

British online sales grow 41% in March from year ago, trade group reports

Online consumer sales in March in the U.K. reached over £1 billion, 41% higher than a year ago, reports U.K. trade association Interactive Media in Retail Group. Apparel was the fastest growing category.

 

Online consumer sales in March in the U.K. reached over £1 billion, 41% higher than a year ago, reports U.K. trade association Interactive Media in Retail Group.

Apparel was the fastest growing category of product in online sales in the U.K., the group reports, increasing 476% in three years and now accounting for 9% of all British online shopping, the group says. Total online sales grew 283% during the same period. British consumers are buying apparel and accessories online at the rate of £100 million a month, the group reports.

"The value of online clothing sales is astonishingly high when you consider that the Internet shopping offer of many of Britain`s traditional apparel retailers is either non-existent or pathetic," said IMRG`s managing director Jo Tucker. "Premium clothing brands such as Armani, Chanel and Missoni are among the worst casualties; it`s often impossible to buy their current season styles online. Exclusive clothes are exactly the type of goods that lots of cash-rich time-poor online shoppers are looking to buy. Such brands will be forced to sell direct unless retailers get their act together very soon."

The boom in online retailing is translating into more market share for some retailers. Apparel retailer Cotton Trader reports March’s 23,000 orders were double the number in March last year. “This growth is all additional business,” marketing manager David Beaumont said. “Our March-to-March overall growth stands at 21%, with nearly two-thirds of that increase coming online."

 

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