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Online sales growth outstrips poor retail market performance

07 November 2018 - 15:08 by Graham Miller

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Stats published by the British Retail Consortium show that October was another tough month for the UK retail sector, with only the increase in safe shopping online helping to result in overall sales growth.

On the web there was a 7.6 per cent boost to consumer spending, which is especially impressive given that it exceeds both the quarterly and year-to-date averages reported in 2018 so far.

E-commerce sites also managed to increase their share of all retail sales, accounting for an impressive 27.6 per cent of transactions.

Study spokesperson, Helen Dickinson, explained that the minimal 1.3 per cent overall rise in retail sales seen last month was caused by a number of factors, including the limited wage increases that are being seen across the UK and the higher costs that retailers are having to offset at the moment.

She also pointed out that plenty of consumers were holding off on potential purchases in preparation for Black Friday, which falls later in November and promises to provide plenty of major discounts across a huge selection of popular products.

Dickinson went on to talk about the challenges that are currently facing the retail sector, chiefly as a result of the looming Brexit deadline and the likelihood that no deal will be struck by the government in order to secure cross-border trade in the aftermath.

This feeds into the general air of caution that has fallen over consumer spending this year, with people choosing to hold onto what little disposable income is available to them, rather than splashing out.

Expectations for a pre-Christmas sales boom are high, although once again the spectre of Brexit could dampen spending and might lead to more retailers facing an uphill struggle for sales as 2018 crawls to a close.