Internet sales of textiles, clothing and footwear rose 23.9% in May

Internet sales of textiles, clothing and footwear rose 23.9% in May

Clothing was the biggest driver of UK online retail growth in volume terms in May, but official figures show it was the only category not to see any increase in quantity bought in-store during the month. 

Sales volumes across the retail sector as a whole were 0.9% higher in May compared with the month before, and 6% higher than a year earlier, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

But the data also shows a 0.1% drop in the quantity bought and a 0.8% fall in the amount spent in clothing, footwear and textile stores compared with May last year – the only store type where less was spent than in the prior year period.

According to Ian Geddes, UK head of retail at Deloitte, while May was milder, the stop-start nature of this year's summer translated into indecision in terms of clothing purchases. 

"The top line figures are strong for May, however, the competition for shoppers remains intense, as prices continue to fall," he adds. "Clothing was the only sector where less was spent than in May 2015. An improvement in the weather could yet save the sector."

The sector, however, fared better online as internet sales of textiles, clothing and footwear rose 23.9% in May, accounting for 13.9% of total sales made online, making it the biggest driver of growth in volume terms.

"Online year-on-year growth soared with sales up 21.5% compared with just 9.3% growth in April," said David McCorquodale, UK head of retail for KPMG. "Fashion and footwear was the stand-out category as the appearance of warmer weather and cleverly timed promotions inspired shoppers to hunt down summer bargains."