Shopow: retailers look to online to boost high street sales

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Retail sales figures issued today by the Office for National Statistics show a better than expected sales volume rise of 0.7% month-on-month. 

The high street has bounced back from a painful month for consumer spending but the market remains fragile, says social shopping search engine, Shopow. Retailers are looking to e-commerce to solve the crisis and increasing their investment in this channel, it adds.

Despite the sales rise, experts have raised concerns about the sustainability of this growth. A number of factors, including the end of the early summer sales, could pose a threat from next month. 

The number of high street casualties continues to rise as more household names fall victim to the tough retail environment. Recent reports have shown profit warnings issued by British retailers are at alarming levels, said Shopow. The 26 reports issued in the first half of 2011 already eclipse the numbers seen during the whole of 2010.

The gloomy picture on the high street is a stark contrast to e-commerce, where online sales for the first six months of the year totalled £31.5bn, 19% more than the same period last year (IMRG), said Shopow. The major retailers have increased investment in e-commerce and m-commerce by 23% this year (Martec International) with a number of innovations such as online social shopping coming to the fore.

Kevin Flood, CEO of Shopow, said: “While many stores are still struggling to grow in what is a difficult sector, there is a widely held appreciation of the value of online retail and so we’re seeing innovation in areas such as social shopping with sites like Shopow.

“The success of the early summer sales shows everyone is looking for a bargain and people are increasingly looking online for the best deals. Shopow is a tool that has helped shoppers share deals and reviews with friends, making shopping a more interactive experience.”