By Daniel Hunter

Online retail sales grew by a record figure in August, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and KPMG.

Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 19.8% in August compared with August 2013 when they had grown 15%. It's the highest growth ever recorded since the inception of the BRC/KPMG online monitor in December 2012.

In August, online sales represented 16.5% of total non-food sales, up 14.8% from August 2013. The BRC said this bodes well for the coming months, as online sales intensify in the run-up to Christmas.

The monitor showed that growth was well spread across all categories, including furniture, which reached its fastest growth on record in August.

Online sales contributed 1.9% to the growth of non-food total sales in August.

Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: “August saw the fastest growth in online sales of non-food items since the online monitor started in December 2012. Customers are really responding well to retailers who have worked hard on developing websites that are attractive and provide customers with a fulfilling user experience. This growth has not been consigned to one area with all categories of items seeing healthy online sales. Furniture experienced its second best growth since the monitor’s inception.

“Parents have been spending a considerable amount online with back-to-school items showing particularly strong online sales. The results show great promise for an increase in online spending, especially with Christmas approaching. As shoppers turn their attention towards Christmas we expect the volume of sales transacted online to accelerate, although we expect them to interact across all channels as part of the shopping journey. Retailers continue to make considerable investment creating quality online shopping experiences and highly-skilled jobs.”

David McCorquodale, Head of Retail, KPMG, said: “The summer has been a good test of retailers’ online capabilities and many have used this to refine their systems before we enter the autumn/winter trading period. The continued growth of online sales reflects these successes.

“This has been time well spent. Those with a truly seamless multichannel operation will be the winners this Christmas, and those with less than perfect systems will see their flaws exposed as the sheer volume of customer orders will test their operation to the limit.”

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