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Online sales show return to form

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Internet shopping recorded a 15.7 per cent rise in July compared with the previous month, a new survey has revealed.

According to IMRG Capgemini, the e-retail research group, total online sales hit the £4.2 billion mark last month, with heavy discounting and special promotions helping to push the figure upwards.

The rise also marks a 16.8 per cent improvement on the data for the same period a year ago.

Online sales in June had been 1.3 per cent down on the level for May.

Tina Spooner, director of information at IMRG, linked the increasing success of internet businesses to better marketing techniques and to a growing ability among e-retailers to convert more of the customers who visit their sites into actual sales.

Ms Spooner said: “Online retail continues to outperform the high street with e-retail growth in July exceeding the yearly growth seen in July 2008. Fashion and electrical retailers reported strong growth, and these remain the key drivers of the UK e-retail market.

“It is evident that online merchants are becoming more sophisticated in their marketing efforts and email communications to their customers, the result of which can be seen in higher conversion rates.”