Home shopping slips to new low

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The Independent Online
Home shopping, as a proportion of the total retail industry, fell to its lowest level for 10 years in 1996, according to a report published today.

The decline of traditional home shopping - via agents who earn commission on sales - has not been offset by the growth in the direct mail order catalogue business or new methods such as shopping on the Internet. But Verdict, the research consultancy that compiled the report, said there was a new mood of confidence in the industry.

The home shopping market was worth pounds 7.551bn last year, a 3.4 per cent increase on 1995 and a recovery from the 2.1 per cent fall experienced previously, it said.

But the market underperformed the pace growth of all retail sales and accounted for only 4.5 per cent of all retail sales.

It confirmed the position of Great Universal Stores as market leader with 24.2 per cent of the business, with Littlewoods second on 16.1 per cent.

Electronic home shopping, including television shopping channels and the Internet, raised its share of the market but still accounts for only 1 per cent of home shopping or 0.04 per cent of retail sales.

"There is neither the technology nor the demand from the public at present to stimulate growth," Verdict warned.