December retail sales were up 1.5% compared to 2011

Online spending saved Christmas retail sales

The British Retail Consortium says strong growth in online shopping stopped retail sales falling over Christmas.

The new report from BRC reveals that without a 17.8 per cent jump in online non-food sales, December sales would have been down compared with a year earlier.

Sales in December were up 1.5 per cent compared to 2012, but BRC director general Helen Dickinson warns: "Since the beginning of 2011 we’re really not going anywhere." She also added that there was little sign that things would improve throughout 2013.

While online retail only accounted for a little over ten per cent of total sales, many brands and retailers looked to capitalise on the growing number of internet shoppers.

“Over the Christmas period, many brands launched web sales as early as Christmas Eve, helping to drive a three-day surge in online spending with Experian’s latest data revealing that visits to websites peaked at a record-breaking 113 million on Boxing Day,” commented Simon Jackson, chief commercial officer at online brand protection specialist NetNames.

"Many retailers have invested a lot in making their websites easier to use across devices and also increasing confidence in their online security," Helen Dickinson said.

"For the more established retailers, it seems that much of the growth is now coming from online orders, while shop sales are stagnant at best."

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