Zara and H&M in web launches

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The recovery in high-street spending showed worrying signs of faltering recently, but next month will see a bonanza for online fashion as two of the sector's heavyweights launch transactional websites.

Zara, the clothing chain owed by Inditex of Spain, will start selling fashion online in Britain on 2 September and will also go live in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Portugal the same day.

Two weeks later, the fashion chain H&M will launch a UK website selling clothing for men, women and children. H&M, which has 168 stores in Britain, will also sell bed linen, cushions and towels online under its H&M Home concept.

The launches will benefit the fast-growing online fashion market populated by the internet specialist Asos, as well as New Look, Topshop, Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Asda.

Last week, two of the nation's biggest retailers, Next and flooring specialist Carpetright, warned of weaker consumer spending over the coming months. However, the growth in online spending shows few signs of contraction.