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Online clothing sales rise 32% in January

Online spending rose 19% in January, according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index, with clothing and accessories sales online soaring by 32%.

The clothing, footwear and accessories sector, which was the jewel in the crown in terms of growth for online retailers in 2008, had a particularly strong month thanks to shoppers looking for deals and discounts in the post-Christmas Sales. The IMRG said that clothing was also generally less seasonally volatile than other sectors, hence the strong growth.

The overall 19% increase in retail spend online in January was up from a stable growth of 15% for the second half of 2008.

Capgemini UK head of consulting for retail Mike Petevinos said: “So what does this mean for retailers? The strong performance of online points to a continued need to invest in the development of their e-commerce propositions. The question is whether bricks and clicks retailers can prioritise this sufficiently above the defensive strategies needed to combat tough high street trading. If not, the risk of widening the gap versus their pure play rivals will be inevitable.”

Tina Spooner, director of information, IMRG, added: “During these challenging economic times it is clear from the latest Index results that consumers are continuing to use the internet to their advantage. This is especially apparent when it comes to searching out the best available deals and promotions. Recent research shows that online searches for discounts have soared by over 100%, a clear indication of how consumers are becoming more price sensitive.”

“We continue to see a major shift in the way consumers shop as more and more are realising the benefits and savings in both time and money when shopping online. However, consumers’ higher expectations, together with more sophisticated shopping patterns, mean that retailers must both fully understand their market and customer base in order to stay ahead in this challenging climate.”

Drapers Fashion Online, a conference bringing together key players in fashion etail including Asos chief executive Nick Robertson and M and M Direct chief executive Steve Robinson, will take place tomorrow at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel in London.

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