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Etail to buck the downturn in US

Online retail spend is set to grow in the US, while lower footfall and tough comparisons are expected to hit sales in bricks and mortar stores, according to reports released this week.
The National Retail Federation (NRF) said internet sales would climb to US$204 billion (£103bn) this year, from US$174.5bn (£88.6bn) last year, despite a struggling economy.

About US$26.6bn (£13.5bn) will come from clothing, accessories and footwear sales, up from US$22.7bn (£11.5bn) last year, according to an NRF study The State of Retailing Online 2008. This makes fashion the single biggest category for online sales.

Scott Silverman, executive director of Shop.org, which carried out the study for the NRF, said: “From higher shipping costs to changes in shopping habits, etailers are not immune to the economic climate. But the fact that online sales will rise this year shows the resilience of the channel and is testament to the value and convenience most customers find when shopping online.”

The research showed web sales are being driven by price-driven casual shoppers and more affluent shoppers looking for convenience. The report added: “Retailers should recognise the opportunities within both audiences and market to them accordingly.”

Separately, sales at US bricks and mortar stores are expected to disappoint this month, according to retail analyst Telsey Advisory Group.
The group said: “We are bracing ourselves for a weak sales performance from most retailers, given the challenging combination of steep comparisons, an early Easter holiday, waning mall traffic, and a mismatch in terms of product offering and weather.”

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