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E-commerce success for department stores reported as high street struggles

22 August 2018 - 10:06 by Sarah Collinson

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The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show that department stores were the real winners in the world of safe shopping online last month, with a 35 per cent rise in sales recorded, according to Internet Retailing.

This means that almost a fifth of all purchases made from department store chains were conducted via the web, rather than at bricks and mortar locations.

While this is positive news for the companies themselves, it is yet another sign that the high street is in trouble and the long term viability of physical outlets may be limited.

Sales made via safe shopping online across all retail brands were up by 15.3 per cent in July this year compared with the same month in 2017.

The fact that e-commerce sites are enjoying double digit sales growth at the moment, with economic uncertainty hampering other parts of the retail market in the UK, will also be something that experts take into account when making predictions about the future.

The warm summer weather helped fashion items and footwear to enjoy the largest leap in sales, with a 17.4 per cent boost announced by the ONS.

Interestingly, the entire UK retail sector was buoyed in July by the heat wave, with a five per cent uptick in spending reported.

Study spokesperson, Rhian Murphy, said that it was not just the weather which played a part in getting people to spend their cash, but also the range of discounts and deals that retailers introduced to help stimulate consumer activity.

He also explained that it was too early to write the high street off as a lost cause, but instead argued that it made more sense to simply see the rise of online shopping as just a reconfiguration of the market.