Threat of postal strikes didn’t scare online shoppers

October online sales are up, so will this mean that retailers will have a very happy Christmas?

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Internet, mail order and phone sales were 18 per cent higher than a year ago, suggesting that online shoppers took little notice of the threat of Royal Mail strikes.

These were part of retail figures showing the best UK October sales growth since 2002. However, these are compared to "dreadful" figures from October 2008, where recessionary fears and turmoil in the financial markets hit consumer confidence.

Krishan Rama, a spokesman for the British Retail Consortium, said that retailers had assured online shoppers that alternative arrangements had been put into place.

"The figures seem to indicate that growth in the internet, mail order and phone sales area of retail stood up, and was in fact that the third best this year," he said.

"Now there's a guarantee that there's no postal strike until at least the end of the year, this should really boost sales... If you look at last year there was a 30 per cent boost in sales for December year on year. Things are looking fairly positive."

Rama also said that online retailers were offering deals such as discounts, good credit, and free delivery.

"The early signs are that consumer confidence has improved, and retailers will be hoping this is sustained," he said.

But he warned that these figures were compared to awful 2008 results, and that next year probable tax rise increases, state spending cuts and a possible change in government could have an affect on the retail market.

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