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UK etail Xmas sales top £2.5bn

It's been a cool Yule apparently

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Online sales during the busy Christmas period topped a festive £2.5 billion as shoppers shunned the high street in favour of the convenience of etailers.

In all, online shopping accounted for 7 per cent of all UK retail spending during November and December with experts predicting that the trend towards Internet shopping is set to continue.

Jo Tucker, MD of trade group IMRG, which carried out this assessment, said: "Retailing changed this Christmas. There will be no going back for the millions of consumers who have now experienced for themselves that the Internet provides a better way to shop for many products and services."

Online spending was strong across a broad range of sectors although electrical consumer goods and the sale of booze were particularly impressive.

According to IMRG's online shopping review: "Smart retailers such as Argos, Tesco, Comet and Littlewoods took full advantage of cash-rich time-poor consumers' migration to Internet shopping to leverage their brands and boost sales."

It described high street giants WH Smith, House of Fraser and Selfridges as "online laggards", claiming that their failure to embrace etailing was responsible for them "haemorrhaging sales".

According to IMRG, people are increasingly turning to the Net to avoid shopping on the high street because of ease of payment, ease of delivery and presents arriving gift-wrapped.

Online Christmas shopping is typically at least four times faster than visiting bricks-and-mortar stores, even for novices, it said.

Earlier this month research from e-outfit Shopcreator found that etailers in the UK and Ireland had a bumper Christmas, notching up increased sales of 40 per cent on the year before. ®

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