April 20, 2010, 4:30 PM

Department stores and sports retailers drive a March retail sales increase

The average value of online orders increased to $180.95 in March, up 7.6% from $168.23 in January, according to web analytics and marketing optimization vendor Coremetrics, which analyzed data from more than 500 retailers.

The average value of online orders increased to $180.95 in March, up 7.6% from $168.23 in January, according to web analytics and marketing optimization vendor Coremetrics, which analyzed data from more than 500 retailers.

The average order value for March is 5.3% more than the $171.89 average order value for December, suggesting strong momentum in consumer shopping, Coremetrics says.

Online retail sales for the first quarter ended March 31, however, decreased 9.5% from the fourth quarter of 2009, Coremetrics says. The company did not provide actual spending figures nor a comparison for the first quarter of 2009.

Coremetrics says that online retail sales increased 10% from February to March, a jump that reflected a sales uptick during the latter part of the quarter.

That growth was driven, in part, by department stores and sports apparel and gear retailers. The average order value for department stores increased to $140.61 in March, up 9.4% from $128.57 in January. The average order value for sports apparel and gear retailers increased to $131.00 in March, up 8.9% from $120.29 in January.

“The online retail sector as a whole delivered an encouraging performance over the course of the first quarter,” says John Squire, chief strategy officer at Coremetrics. “Though overall sales were down slightly for the quarter, the sector posted strong gains in March. In particular, department stores and sports gear retailers have done an exceptional job of attracting consumers and delivering strong sales results.”

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