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Online sales growth continues as spending on the high street forecast to fall

Online sales growth continues as spending on the high street forecast to fall
Wednesday April 4 2012

Retail analyst Verdict has claimed consumer spending in the high street is likely to continue to fall as more shoppers use online channels to order goods through delivery services.

The company found that online sales have soared by 113 per cent over the last five years, indicating the increasing role ecommerce is playing in how UK consumers carry out their shopping.

This fall will also be driven by the ongoing expansion of out-of-town shopping hubs and major retail parks, according to the research company.

Verdict's announcement comes after the government pledged £12.8 million of funding to town centre shops following recommendations made in the Portas Review. Despite this commitment, research from the firm still forecast that British high streets will struggle as ecommerce becomes an increasingly integral part of the retail world.

It predicted a 1.4 per cent drop in the town centre market, meaning it would fall to £117.6 billion in 2012 as online and out-of-town shopping picks up the slack.

Carly Syme, senior retail analyst at Verdict Research, said the high street has been hit harder than out-of-town shopping by the rise of ecommerce because "important categories on the high street such as books, music and video [are] well suited to online retail".

She argued that attempting to maintain the role of town centres as shopping hubs is a futile endeavour and urged councils to focus instead on developing an impressive leisure offering.

"Instead of being a major retail hub, town centres will be used more to support the e-retail channel with click and collect points ... as well as satellite stores opening for customers to make online purchases," concluded Ms Syme

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