David Prosser: Retail's future is bright: on the web, at least

Outlook: Marks & Spencer announced yesterday that its post-Christmas sale would actually start on Christmas Day itself, online at least
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The Independent Online

If retailers had been hoping for some Christmas-oriented salvation over the weekend, they were sorely disappointed. Experian's footfall numbers for Saturday and Sunday show a 9 per cent fall on the same weekend last year. There was no last-minute Christmas rush, in other words

There is one tiny ray of sunlight for retailers, however. Online sales continue to defy the odds of recession, with both traditional and internet-only retailers reporting that this channel of business is still growing. This is one reason why, for example, Marks & Spencer announced yesterday that its post-Christmas sale would actually start on Christmas Day itself, online at least. You'll be able to snap its bargains from one minute past midnight on Thursday.

Expect online shopping to continue to expand throughout 2009, not least because wandering down the high street is becoming an increasingly miserable experience. Why spend your time speeding past boarded-up retailers, estate agents and banks if you can do all your shopping from home?

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