Strong Valentine’s Day sales helped retailers achieve growth of 13% online in February, according to the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Index.  

Online sales hit £4.1bn for the month compared to £3.6bn the year before. Month-on-month sales were down 4% from January, a fall off after competitive new-year promotions.

It is good news for the sector as online retail sales growth slowed to its lowest-ever level in January, up just 5% like-for-like.

Shoppers stuck to more traditional gifts of lingerie and perfume for Valentine’s day this year. Sales for the gifts sector were down 31% a week before Valentine’s Day while sales of lingerie online soared 30%.

Capgemini vice president, retail consulting and technology Chris Webster said: “It is reassuring to see that romance hasn’t been lost in the recession, and shoppers clearly haven’t lost the love for online retail. The growth of less traditional sectors in February paints an optimistic picture of consumers picking themselves up following the doom and gloom of the last couple of years. Despite online retail’s maturity, it is still showing strong growth levels of 13%.”