Online sales grew by a marginal 0.6% year-on-year in September, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index.
The firm said that despite the “extended period” of challenging results, September’s figures failed to match the already low six and 12-month rolling averages (respectively +2.3%, +5.3%), and plummeted well below the five-year average (+10%).
Clothing saw its first negative growth in over two years at -1.2% against last year, reflective of a number of initiatives in September that aimed to shift consumer attitudes towards sustainable fashion.
In stark contrast to previous performance where sales had major growth, menswear sales suffered significantly (-22.5%). Womenswear, footwear and accessories also declined with YoY growth rates of -13.3%, -9.8% and -9.0% respectively.
Bhavesh Unadkat, principal consultant in retail customer engagement, Capgemini, said: “September’s results will have triggered some clear warning signs for retailers as sales are stuttering at the beginning of the ‘golden quarter’; online sales are up only +0.6%, and 9 out of the 15 sectors we track reported negative performance in comparison to last year.
“Most notably, the clothing sector was down -1.2%, despite the average basket value remaining flat at £78 and the conversion rate increasing by +2% against last year, which indicates that low demand is the driver for the poor performance.”
Andy Mulcahy, strategy and insight director, IMRG, added: “September was another poor month for online sales growth; January-September the index is up just +4.9% versus a start-of-year forecast of +9%.
“Retailers just seem to be facing so many issues at the moment, with low shopper confidence driving the need to discount and very few categories performing well. There is only one possible positive factor, which might seem slightly surprising, that could help stimulate sales growth – Brexit.”