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Give yourself some home page help

A growth of 38% in the clothing and footwear market? We could only be talking about online, and indeed we are.

According to a new report, entitled UK e-Retail 2008, from industry analyst Verdict Retail, the value of online clothing and footwear sales hit £1.7 billion in 2007, an increase of £500 million on 2006. This accounts for 4.2% of total spend in the fashion retail sector.

The falling cost of broadband internet has enabled more shoppers to get online than ever before. And there is only one way this trend is going, and that’s up. Total online retail sales reached £14.7bn last year and will hit £45bn by 2012.

Verdict analyst Malcolm Pinkerton predicts that before long online and in-store channels will blur into one and customers will expect to be given the option to shop however they wish. “Giving the customer the choice by becoming multi-channel is the key to success,” he says.

And we’re not just talking about multiples. The independent sector is increasingly seeing the need to go online and the opportunity for growth it presents. Going online is not without its risks, but it is looking safer than bricks and mortar at the moment following credit insurer Euler Hermes’ unsettling statement this week that insolvencies are set to rocket. It says there is a 15% greater chance that retailers won’t be able to pay their suppliers than at this time last year.

For those about to take the online plunge, help is at hand this week in the form of our Ecommerce Focus (see centre pages), where you can gain some expert advice. And next week Drapers hosts its second Maximising Revenue Through Online Retailing conference on 12 June in London. See www.drapers-onlinefashion.co.uk for more information. I’ll see you there.

Lauretta Roberts Editor

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