Online shopping booms as high street suffers

Retail websites enjoy rising sales, as high street posts faltering figures

The credit crunch may have taken its toll on Britain’s high street this Christmas, but when it comes to online shopping, business is booming.

Although the high street saw widespread profit losses, online shopping continued to thrive, with the ten biggest shopping sites seeing a whopping 37% increase in visitors compared to last year, according to market research by Nielsen.

For many high street shops, trading may have been gloomy in-store, but online sales boomed. Marks & Spencer reported poor Christmas trading, which led to the closure of 27 stores and 1,230 job losses. However, online it saw a 46% increase in visitors in comparison to last year.

Littlewoods saw the highest increase in online customers, with its site seeing visitors jump by 66%.

With online retail perceieved to have better prices than the high street, the boom is being attributed to bargain hunters looking for a convenient way to bag the best prices.

Alex Burmaster, at Nielsen Online, said, ‘The fact that the leading retailers online managed to attract over a third more visitors than they did for Christmas 2007 meant online retail provided some very bright news amidst the overall gloomy economic picture at the end of 2008.’

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