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Bargain hunting web shoppers boost Christmas sales

Bargain hunting shoppers spent £102 million online on Christmas Day, an increase of 21% on last year.

Etail body IMRG said that Christmas online trade came later but was larger and longer than last year in the run-up to Christmas.

Around 3.8 million people shopped online on Christmas Day, which was fewer than last year, but average spend per shopper was higher, at £26.80 per shopper compared with £19.09 last year.

Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Debenhams and M and M Direct were among retailers to have Sales online on Christmas Day.

IMRG chief executive James Roper said: "Though the number of people shopping on Christmas Day was 14% lower than last year, the volume of transactions was 26% higher, and the value rose by 21%, indicating that serious bargain hunting was the order of the day."

Traffic to retail websites in the run up to Christmas was higher than last year, and transaction volumes rose 9% in November and 28% in December. However ticket values were down, however, indicating that more people were buying lower value items, suggesting online sales were not completely immune to the downturn.

Online research firm e-Digital Research said that shoppers monitored websites for the best deals in the run-up to Christmas before making purchases on Christmas Day and Boxing Day when Sales and promotions started.

Sales at Debenhams Direct rose 37.4% in the 12 weeks to January 3, contrary to the overall sales trend at the department store, which saw like-for-like sales at its stores fall 3.5%.

John Lewis, which started its clearance at 6pm on Christmas Eve, had its busiest hour online, and two record breaking weeks during December.

New Look reported 1.1 million visitors to its website in the peak week before Christmas.

Marks & Spencer online sales were were up 29% in the 13 weeks to December 27.

Next's online sales were up just 1.1% in the 21 weeks to December 24.

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