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Online retail sales drag in August

Retail sales in August saw low growth of just 3% year-on-year according to the latest IMRG Capgemini eRetail Sales Index, and comes after online sales slumped to its lowest ever July growth last month.

According to the report, August’s result falls “well below” the five-year average of +9.6%, as well as the three-month, six-month, and 12-month rolling averages (respectively +5.3%, +3.8%, +5.7%).

Looking at the results on a category level, clothing was one of the few “bright spots” for retailers, with sales up 9.1% against last year. Menswear also had a particularly strong month, with sales up by 21.9%, while footwear sales also grew by 7.3%.

However, both electricals and gifts continued their extended runs of negative growth (recording results of -22.5% and -30.3% this month), which started at the beginning of the year for electricals, and as far back as last September for gifts.

Bhavesh Unadkat, principal consultant in retail customer engagement, Capgemini, said: “August was yet another disappointing month for online sales with low growth rates as we head into the peak trading period. Conversely, mobile sales have shown stronger performance over the last few months.

During 2018 the pace of growth had been stalling, however throughout 2019 there has been renewed growth, with mobile sales +14% in August versus last year, higher than the three- and six-month monthly averages which were +9% and +8% respectively.”

He added: “Retailers are focusing more than ever on their mobile customer experience, combined with increases in app advertising and more secure payment options, demonstrating that there is still room for growth and potentially market share by optimising the channel strategy.”

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