High street stores suffer as shoppers hit internet

Bargain hunters helped drive online retail sales last month but a drop in footfall on the high street at the weekend suggests the soaring trade on the internet is hitting stores that do not have an online presence.

Despite the recession, online spending surged by 16 per cent in November compared with the same time last year, according to the IMRG Capgeminie-retail sales index. Last month's sales were also up by 26 per cent on October, when the fallout from the banking crisis hit consumer confidence.

In a separate survey, Experian found that retail footfall dropped by an average of 9.1 per cent at the weekend; Saturday's high street traffic fell by 13.12 per cent and Sunday's by 4.99 per cent.

Directors at IMRG said that November's sharp spike in internet sales had been driven by factors including e-tailers matching the aggressive discounting of retailers, such as Marks and Spencer's conducting one-off sales in its stores and online; and customers increasingly checking prices online before purchasing.

James Roper, the chief executive of IMRG, the global industry body for e-retail, said: "While we would naturally expect to see a monthly increase in online sales at this time of the year, it is perhaps surprising that we are continuing to see yearly growth during these otherwise difficult times for retailers. This is a sure sign that high street retailers should look to diversify their activities by embracing the online space, as their customers have."

David Smith, IMRG operations director, said: "I am amazed that Gap, for example, does not yet have a transactional website. It must be hurting them."

In particular, online sales of accessories, such as handbags, increased by 108 per cent last month, albeit from a low base. Online clothing sales were up 18 per cent and footwear sales were 32 per cent higher, despite the effects of the credit crunch.

Online sales of beer, wines and spirits jumped by 53 per cent last month, indicating that consumers were buying their Christmas supplies early.

In contrast, total retail sales, including high street stores and the internet, declined by 0.4 per cent in November – the first time since 1995 that sales had fallen for two consecutive months, the BRC-KPMG retail sales monitor reported last week.

Non-food, non-store sales – which take place over the internet, by mail order or telesales – account for just 4 per cent of total British retail sales.

Mr Smith said: "Undoubtedly, the overall retail cake has shrunk and the internet is now getting a slightly bigger piece of the cake. What we are seeing is that the internet is really coming of age for the consumer."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Sales - OTE £40,000

£18000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Insurance Bro...

Guru Careers: Research Associate / Asset Management Research Analyst

£40 - 45k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A Research Associate / Research Anal...

Ashdown Group: Finance Accountant - Financial Services - Central London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Finance Accountant - Fin...

Ashdown Group: Chief Technology Officer (CTO) - Glasgow

£90000 - £98000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A truly exciting opportu...

Day In a Page

Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash
I would never quit Labour, says Liz Kendall

I would never quit party, says Liz Kendall

Latest on the Labour leadership contest
Froome seals second Tour de France victory

Never mind Pinot, it’s bubbly for Froome

Second Tour de France victory all but sealed
Oh really? How the 'lowest form of wit' makes people brighter and more creative

The uses of sarcasm

'Lowest form of wit' actually makes people brighter and more creative
A magazine editor with no vanity, and lots of flair

No vanity, but lots of flair

A tribute to the magazine editor Ingrid Sischy
Foraging: How the British rediscovered their taste for chasing after wild food

In praise of foraging

How the British rediscovered their taste for wild food