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February sees modest increase in online sales

09 March 2018 - 09:08 by Graham Miller

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The latest stats from the British Retail Consortium indicate that safe shopping online rose by 6.4 per cent last month, with the retail market as a whole expanding by 1.6 per cent.

E-commerce continues to be a catalyst for growth, as the high street experienced a 1.6 per cent dip in activity over this period. Poor weather conditions and economic uncertainty are both to blame for the continuous decline in popularity of bricks and mortar stores.

21.1 per cent of retail activity in the UK was carried out online, representing a slight rise compared with the same month in 2017. So while e-commerce is not currently enjoying double digit growth as it has in the past, it is still gaining traction at a time when traditional retailers are struggling.

Report spokesperson, Helen Dickinson, said that for the companies that were seeing an uptick in sales, celebration was deserved because of the difficult market conditions being faced at the moment. She cited caution among consumers, as well as the increase in operational expenses facing retailers, as being problematic for the industry.

She pointed out that food sales were staying strong, but that outside of this segment things were looking less positive for real world retail. Meanwhile in the digital sphere the reduction in growth is seen as potentially concerning, raising questions about how the rest of 2018 will play out for the market.

In the wake of Toys R Us and Maplin going into administration, Dickinson expects that other outlets with significant physical presences will begin to encounter difficulties. This means that more store closures are inevitable, while only retailers that have a strong multichannel presence will be in with a chance of weathering the worst of the storm and coming out on top.