Online retail slows but still on track

Online retail slows but still on track

IMRG and Capgemini predict a bumper Christmas for e-commerce

E-commerce experts are predicting a bumper Christmas for online retailers, despite the latest figures from industry body the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) which show a 13 per cent slow down in October compared to earlier months.

The IMRG Capgemeini eRetail Sales Index tracks online sales from more than 80 online traders, including Arcadia group and, to offer a snapshot of the health of the industry.

Sales for the fourth quarter of 2007, from October to December are predicted to hit £15 billion – 60 per cent higher than the £9.6 billion recorded last year during the same period.

James Roper, chief executive of the IMRG, said that the slight dip in sales during October may be attributed to general economic slowdown that also affected the High Street.

"Some people were also hit by the Royal Mail strikes and experienced fewer traffic, although this [evidence] is a bit anecdotal at the moment," he added.

Anthoula Madden of Capgemini added that October's slump would be a temporary blip, as e-commerce is till growing twenty times faster than the high street, according to the report's figures.

"Firms need to make sure they have a multi-channel strategy and offer consumer flexibility," she argued. "It's about capturing and creating loyalty."