Online sales were helped by strong fashion sales and wet weather in July with customers spending £4.2bn, an increase of 16.8% on last year.

Month-on-month sales continued to grow up 15.7% on June, according to the latest IMRG Capgemini e-retail Sales Index.

IMRG director of information Tina Spooner said: “Online retail continues to outperform the high street with e-retail growth in July exceeding the yearly growth seen in July 2008. Fashion and electrical retailers reported strong growth and these remain the key drivers of the UK e-retail market.”

Clothing, footwear and accessories continued to be the fastest growing sector, up 18% month-on-month and 17% year-on-year.

In a more surprising trend for July, online sales of alcohol declined 23% year-on-year in a month that usually brings high sales volumes for alcohol online.