By Daniel Hunter

Growth in online retail sales hit a six-month high in April, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).

Online sales of non-food products in the UK grew 15.4% in April compared with last year, when it had risen by 11.2% over the previous year. It marks the strongest growth since October 2014 and is ahead of the 3-month and 12-month averages of 12.0% and 12.5%, respectively. In April 2015, online sales represented 17.6% of total non-food sales, against 15.9% in April 2014.

The fashion categories were the star performers in April 2015, although they were up against soft comparables. Footwear was the second fastest growing online category and achieved its best performance since December 2012, followed closely by clothing, which grew at its fastest rate on record. Unsurprisingly, sales growth of categories that typically perform well at Easter, such as the home categories, slowed in April, equal to that of stores.

Helen Dickinson, Director General, British Retail Consortium, said: “This is the best online growth since October, which brings the three-month average roughly in line with the twelve-month average of 12.5 per cent. Considering that almost one pound in every five is spent online for non-food goods, the growth figure is testament to the great British online retail offering. Indeed April recorded the highest contribution to overall growth of non-food since December 2013.

“Fashion and beauty performed particularly strongly, with three of those categories — clothing, footwear and health & beauty — achieving their best online growth for over two years, while stores also displayed healthy sales increases for those products.

“Retailers will welcome this result achieved without significantly higher promotional activities."