Web optimisation triumphs: UK retail sales strong over Christmas

Christmas Day sales were up by nearly a third to £132 million while Boxing Day saw Brits take to the internet and spend some £281 million.

Online PR News – 20-January-2010 – – British retailers have enjoyed a festive season full of joy, according to the latest sales figures.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) report shows that UK retail sales values rose 4.2 per cent on a like-for-like basis last month on December 2008.

Last year, sales dropped 3.3 per cent as financial market turmoil hit consumer confidence.

Non-store sales, including those made over the internet, were more than a quarter higher than a year ago, with the BRC suggesting that shoppers turn to e-commerce when snow and ice prevents them from visiting the high street.

Figures from Retail Decisions for Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) also reveal how well-optimised websites have benefited in recent months.

Christmas Day sales were up by nearly a third to £132 million, while Boxing Day saw Brits take to the internet and spend some £281 million.

"It appears that this Christmas we saw internet activity becoming part of most people's routine," commented David Smith, director of operations at IMRG.

"Online retailers were able to benefit from this changing consumer behaviour by achieving record sales volumes with many sales and offers starting on Christmas Eve."

And this trend could be set to continue, with website owners doing their best to offer last-minute deliveries and consumers enjoying a positive online experience.

"Christmas 2010 looks like it will be even more prosperous for the online retailer," suggested Chris Russell, director at eDigitalResearch.

"People are now increasingly aware when the sales will be starting and so they use the internet to their advantage, identifying and searching out a bargain," he continued, highlighting the importance of website Optimisation.

Mintel retail director Richard Perks has also spoken of the Christmas retail boom, pointing out that people are better off than they were in 2008 thanks to lower interest rates.

However, he also suggests that the rise in spending last month may be short-lived, as VAT has now returned to 17.5 per cent and consumers are beginning to tighten their belts again.

"I think they just decided that we've got the cash at the moment, let's make sure we have a good time while we can because we probably won't be able to next year," Mr Perks added.

However, he added that this can be a slow burning tactic so it was important to dedicate regular time on an ongoing basis.

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