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A report produced by the Office for National Statistics has shown that people in the UK averaged a weekly spend of £539 million, against total sales of £5.61 billion. Although the results show that online shopping is becoming increasingly popular, it does raise concerns of whether online shopping is taking over from sales on the high street.

The figures of online sales are the biggest so far at a 9.6 percent share of sales, while 2007 saw a meagre share of three percent. According to Debenhams, 7.4 percent of all its sales were found to have been carried out online. In a move to encourage shoppers to order goods online which are out of stock in store, the store will install 650 Internet kiosks in its shops. Retailers are seizing the improved sales and creating a market for ordering and paying online, but collect in store.

Sales had seen an increase of 5.4 percent during September 2011, in comparison with September 2010. However, the actual amount of merchandise sold accounted for only 0.6 percent, which meant that the increase had occurred as a result of inflation. The number of sales in smaller retail outlets had increased by 2.1 percent, beating the larger stores.

Retail and consumer leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Mark Hudson said:

“The ONS figures show that while sales were better than expected, the retail market still remains fragile suppressed by consumers reining in their spending in a climate of continuing economic uncertainty. Clothing sales were particularly hit hard, with the sprinkle of unseasonable weather providing an unwelcome appearance.”

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