Internet retail sales slumped in August as the Olympics distracted Brits from online shopping, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Non-store retail sales, which predominantly comprise online trade but also include mail order, slumped 6.7% in August month-on-month, representing the sharpest monthly drop since December 2007.
Overall sales volumes slipped 0.2% while sales values were up 0.2% between July and August.
However, year-on-year sales volumes grew 2.7% in August, driven by discounting. Sales by value were up 3%.
Year-on-year food sales by volume increased 0.9% last month while increasing 3% by value.
Non-food sales increased 5% by volume in August, and by 3.8% by value. Sales in clothing, footwear, toys and sporting goods all grew.
Trade was boosted by an increase in sales of football shirts with the start of the new season and the European Championship.
Ian Geddes, UK head of retail at Deloitte, said: “Today’s figures suggest that for some retailers, the Olympic summer didn’t meet expectations.
“As we approach the ‘golden quarter’, it is apparent that Christmas will once again be tough for the industry. There is little evidence to suggest that conditions will improve dramatically any time soon. However, there will always be winners and losers in retail and it is increasingly true that the winners are those retailers that get their strategy right across stores, online and mobile.”