Online retail sales top industry forecast

LONDON Wed Jul 20, 2011 7:17am BST

LONDON (Reuters) - Spending by British shoppers over the internet grew a better-than-expected 19 percent during the first six months of 2011, boosted by helpful weather patterns and the Royal Wedding, an industry body said.

Capgemini and consultants IMRG said on Tuesday online retail sales totalled 31.5 billion pounds in the six months to June 30. That was 1 percentage point ahead of the body's 2011 growth forecast made in January.

Growth was attributed to four factors -- shoppers searching online for better deals than the high street, good weather in April which drove earlier than usual summer fashion sales, spending ahead of the Royal Wedding, and the wet summer.

In June itself, 5.3 billion pounds was spent online, 21 percent more year-on-year. That compared with a fall of 0.6 percent on the high street, reported by the British Retail Consortium.

(Reporting by James Davey)