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E-commerce sales increase as cold weather keeps shoppers at home

20 April 2016 - 13:35 by Graham Miller

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The latest figures from the British Retail Consortium have shown a 2.7 per cent drop in footfall at high street stores in the past month, with shopping centres suffering an even steeper 3.7 per cent decline in visits.

One of the main reasons given for this by analysts is the return of wintry weather over the Easter period, meaning people were more likely to carry out safe shopping online from the warmth of their homes than brave the chilly streets, according to This Is Money.

The only members of the bricks and mortar marketplace that continued to benefit from modest growth were retail parks based outside of towns and cities. And in many cases, people visiting these outlets were doing so in order to collect items reserved via the web.

Report spokesperson, Helen Dickinson, said that the timing of Easter itself in 2016 had played havoc with footfall on the high street, although the trend for falling visitor numbers is also recognised as a reflection of new habits taking root, thanks to the popularity of safe shopping online.

She pointed out that while retailers are investing in improving their digital services, it is also necessary for these companies to ensure that the in-store experience does not get left behind. And the challenge of integrating online and high street retail services is one being tackled more effectively by some retailers than others.

The idea that online shopping and physical outlets can coexist is not a new one, but industry experts continue to drive home the need to converge these multiple platforms, rather than allowing the high street to wither and die.

Visiting real world stores is still immensely popular across the UK, but retailers need to give e-commerce converts more reason to do so if they want to survive.