May 27, 2005, 12:00 AM

Online sales in the U.K. grow 30% in April while all retail sales fall 1.3%

British consumers spent £1.4 billion online in April, 29.3% more than April a year ago, reports the Interactive Media in Retail Group.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

 

British consumers spent £1.4 billion online in April, 29.3% more than April a year ago, reports the Interactive Media in Retail Group, a London-based trade association for online retailers. The group has been tracking online sales since April 2000 and sales have increased 1,500% since then.

The trade group says April’s growth was the highest increase in seven months.

By comparison, total retail sales in the U.K. declined 1.3% in April, according to the British Retail Consortium. “April was another very tough month for retailers and whilst the drop is partly exaggerated by the comparison with April 2004, when Easter fell, the like-for-like figure is the worst since 1995,” said Kevin Hawkins, director general of the British Retail Consortium.

"We have regularly observed over the past five years that when times are tough, more shopping moves online, but April`s huge increase surprised us all, in light of consumers` reluctance to part with their cash in the bricks-and-mortar stores,” said Jo Tucker, IMRG`s managing director. “And we see the same effect when economic conditions are particularly good; this also gives Internet shopping a growth boost."

The Interactive Media in Retail Group`s numbers include online travel sales, although the group does not report travel sales separately from retail.

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