August 17, 2011, 2:07 PM

The growth spurt for U.K. e-commerce slows down in July

Online sales increased 12% last month, the lowest rate since January 2010.

Allison Enright

Editor

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Online retail sales in the U.K. increased 11.5% in July compared with the same month a year ago, according the Interactive Media in Retail Group, an e-retail trade group, and consulting firm Capgemini. The IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index says U.K. shoppers spent 5.58 billion pounds ($9.26 billion) online in July. When excluding online travel sales, IMRG says e-retail sales growth in July increased 18% year over year.

The 11.5% growth July sales represent the lowest year-over-year growth rate IMRG has recorded since January 2010. The trade group says poor online sales in the travel and electronics sector in July dampened growth. Sales in travel decreased 1% from a year ago and sales of electronics were down 3%. “With budgets being squeezed and disposable incomes shrinking, it is evident that consumers are making more considered purchases, especially on higher-ticket items,” says Tina Spooner, chief information officer at IMRG.

But not all e-retailers in the United Kingdom suffered slower growth last month. Sales of clothing, footwear and accessories increased 25% from a year ago, home and garden sales jumped 27%, and liquor sales rose 14%.  

The trade group also cautions that high sales growth is tough to sustain, noting that between July and December last year online sales increased 21% year over year. “The coming months sales may well be slower, having come from a stronger base last year,” Spooner says.

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