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Online sales see mixed result during first week of lockdown

During the first week of the new pandemic guidelines, online retail sales growth was down -2.2% year-on-year (YoY), according to the latest IMRG Capgemini Online Retail Index.

Though fairly flat, IMRG said the result concealed a “much more tumultuous picture” at a category level. One of three standout categories, last week saw a surge in online health and beauty sales, which rose by +31.6% YoY and 7.3% week-on-week (WoW).

It said the growth builds on a strong six-month performance by the sector, as January and February online sales grew by +4.6% and +17.6% respectively. The marked increase in last week’s figure is particularly significant, however, when compared to 2019’s average sales growth of +20.6%.

Online sales of electricals also spiked to +42.4% YoY and 43% WoW, as many Britons reportedly “rushed” to buy home office equipment, games consoles and freezers to cope with an extended stay at home.

In addition, the demand for home improvement products also perhaps contributed to a +13.8% YoY (10% WoW) uptick in sales for home and garden.

However, the index revealed clothing saw its sales “fall through the floor”, with growth plummeting by -26.7% YoY and -22% WoW. This result was mirrored across clothing’s subcategories, with footwear growth also tumbling to -38.2% YoY and -22.9% WoW.

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