Developing

Online Shopping Surges Over Xmas

Internet retail sales are on course to have risen 30% over the Christmas period as shoppers moved to bag a bargain from home and beat sale queues.

Figures from market data firm Experian suggest Boxing Day set a new British record for online shopping.

According to the report, Britons spent 14 million hours trawling websites on Boxing Day, paying around 113 million visits to online retailers on what became the UK's biggest day for internet shopping.

Experian found that web sales were up by 17% on Boxing Day last year.

The figure had been expected to be higher but the company's digital insight manager, James Murray, said: "With a number of the major retailers bringing their sales forward to Christmas Eve, the impact of that was that Boxing Day was slightly muted and not as prolific as we forecast."

Figures show that Christmas Eve was 86% bigger than last year as a shopping day while Christmas Day was 71% bigger, as shoppers took to websites.

British Retail Consortium (BRC) spokesman Richard Dodd said the dash for discounts was boosted by consumers who were feeling the pinch.

He said: "Customers are under lots of financial pressure and are really keen on seeking out value and taking advantage of bargains."

Robert Goodman, general manager of Kent's Bluewater shopping centre, said: "Boxing Day's momentum has continued into today, with the opening of the John Lewis clearance sale being a major draw."

Waitrose said it had enjoyed a record Christmas season - with Sunday, December 23,proving to be its busiest ever.

Total branch sales excluding petrol for the festive period rose 7.7% between Sunday, November 4, and Christmas Eve.

On a like for like basis, sales were up 4.3% on the equivalent period last year.