Christmas: Tis the season to rake in the lolly

With pre-Christmas sales already rising, retailers around the UK rejoice at new figures forecasting a £7.75bn internet sales boom in the five weeks to Christmas.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013
There are only 38 shopping days left till Chrimbo and UK consumers are finally starting to flash the cash. Last month’s retail figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that spend went up 0.6%; a small step for retailers, but a giant leap for the industry, sticking two fingers up at the 0.2% drop forecast by City analysts.

Food stores are the biggest winners so far. This is only the second time this year that the sector has seen a like-for-like increase in sales on 2010. Of course, they’ve paid dearly for the privilege. Mass-discounting across the board explains much of the buying spree.

Looking at latest figures from the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, online retailers are having a rather jolly time too. Consumers mouse-clicked their way through £5.9bn in October alone, up 14% on 2010 sales over the same period. E-tailers saw a boost after the cold snap hit Britain: people have been rushing to online stores in droves to pick up winter warmers.

Something else is beefing up online revenues too. The smartphone. Mobile sales accounted for 11% of all online purchases in October, up from 3.1% last year. The iPhone is the real champion of the e-shopper, accounting for more than double the sales Android’s pulling in. And this trend looks set to stay. This month’s mobile revenues are tipped to increase 10% on last November while consumers, cosy in their homes and offices, will take the value of internet shopping baskets to £7.75bn over the next few weeks.

But while a bleak midwinter is good for e-tailers, let’s hope the high street makes it through the freeze.

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