Online retail sales in the UK recorded their weakest August growth for 15 years last month, according to latest figures from IMRG.

  • Weakest performance since the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index launched in 2000
  • Clothing sales up just 5%, its lowest ever August growth
  • IMRG expects September’s index results to be back on track

Sales increased just 5% in August, down 6% on July. Although the figures are up against strong comparatives with the previous August – recording a 14% hike in sales – it marks the weakest performance since the IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index launched in 2000.

IMRG signalled that the performance could be the result of a later August Bank Holiday, which will be included in September’s index.

Across the different sectors, clothing recorded its lowest ever August growth, with sales up just 5%. While sales of electricals edged up just 6% – a 1% fall on last year.

However, bright spots were found in the health and beauty, gifts and home sectors, which were up 30%, 23% and 31% respectively.

Sales made via a mobile device enjoyed a rise of 33% in August.

Disappointment felt

Alex Smith-Bingham, head of digital, consumer products and retail at Capgemini, said: “The height of summer usually drives customers online or in-store to update their wardrobes in preparation for their holidays or simply to make the most of the British sunshine.

“However, with just 5% growth, for both the clothing sector and the wider industry, the disappointment of August’s performance would have been felt across the whole retail sector. We predict this will be short-lived however, as the late Bank Holiday and back-to-school shopping should give September’s Index a significant boost.”

IMRG chief information officer Tina Spooner said: “Looking ahead, we expect September’s Index results to be back on track with our 2015 growth forecast, considering it will on the back of single-digit growth during September 2014.”