Online retail hits four-year high

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Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 19.2 per cent in December, the highest growth for four years, BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor has revealed.

That compares to total sales growth of 1.8 per cent, while like-for-like sales grew only 0.4 per cent.

The online penetration rate was 18.6 per cent in December.

Helen Dickinson, director general of the British Retail Consortium, said: “This Christmas we’ve seen innovative retailers using click and collect and other approaches to make a virtue of both their websites and their physical shops.

Stuart Higgins, retail partner at LCP Consulting said the figures highlighted the fact that retailers needed to invest urgently in building omni-channel capabilities. “They also need to understand that supply chain fulfilment capabilities and readiness are integral to the brand experience and must deliver consistently against the brand promise – irrespective of the time of year.”

And LCP’sPhil Streatfield said:  “This will enable them to respond to the consumer expectation of successful last minute delivery, the ‘where and when I want it’ mentality, combined with shorter delivery times and reduced prices.”

“Ultimately this means their business strategy needs to address a number of key factors including their operating models, channel economics, distribution and fulfilment networks, inventory and range deployment and seamless returns. If they do this they will be well-positioned not only for next Christmas, but for today’s constantly evolving market-place.”

* Hermes said that in December Hermes experienced its highest volume period at 21 million parcels – an overall increase of 14 per cent on the previous year, delivering for retail customers including Debenhams, John Lewis, Next and ASOS.

* CitySprint’s November and December delivery figures have revealed that Christmas retail deliveries in 2013 peaked on 19 December, compared to 18 December in 2012.

In total the company handled some half a million retail deliveries throughout the two months.

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