There was good news for e-commerce amid the economic gloom on Thursday as Philip Green's Arcadia Group reported a 27 per cent rise in yearly online sales, despite a whopping 40 per cent drop in overall profits.
The retail group, which contains popular high street stores such as Topshop, BHS, Burton and Evans, announced it will be forced to close 250-260 stores as a result of the tough economic conditions.
"Although we had this financial storm, 2009 and 2010 were actually OK," said group owner Philip Green.
"It's only really in the last year I think everything's just tightened up across the globe where we've seen the marketplace just become tougher."
However, despite the group's overall fall in profits, it revealed an impressive spike in e-commerce sales, which surpassed the 14 per cent year-on-year rise for October revealed in the latest monthly eRetail Sales Index from IMRG and Capgemini.
Chris Webster, head of consumer products and retail at Capgemini, said that consumers are clearly still spending, but are being more selective over what they buy, a trend that will continue into the Christmas shopping season.
"Technology is evolving and so is the consumer. Gone are the days when we were limited to shopping just on the high-street and were at the mercy of the weather," he added.
"Shoppers have become very savvy, out of both need and convenience – we'll hunt down the best bargains online to get the most out of our Christmas budget, but also because we can, easily and conveniently."
He added that retailers are adapting to the new opportunities presented by e-commerce and m-commerce.
Just last month, John Lewis announced it would become the first UK retailer to provide free Wi-Fi in all of its stores, in order to help customers research items online in store.
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