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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : January 28, 2010

Frozen Brits stay indoors and shop online

Britain's "Big Freeze" has forced many who were intending to shop on the High Street to log on and shop online, according to new research by GfK NOP.

by Helen Leggatt

The wintry blast that brought snow and ice to the U.K. in the first few weeks of January also brought with it good news for online retailers. According to research agency GfK NOP, more than a quarter (27%) of shoppers who intended to visit the High Street instead stayed at home and shopped online.

However, many Brits are putting off their purchases for the time being and intend to brave the High Street when it's easier to stay warm and upright.

"The weather conditions during the first two weeks of 2010 have undoubtedly had a significant effect on the fortunes of the High Street during the crucial January sales period, and while we predict a possible late surge due to the amount of shoppers deferring purchases, it's clear that the Big Freeze has dampened the spirits of many who were planning to buy," said Ivan Browne, a director at the research agency.

The attitudes towards the January sales of those hardy folk who braved the weather were split. While some expressed "disappointment" at the offers available, just as many said they were "finding great bargains".

Recently released figures from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) also provided grim reading for High Street retailers, blaming the wintry weather and the end of the VAT reduction for falling sales. Their monthly survey found that 36% of retailers saw sales fall, while just 28% reported a rise. The figures were the worst for five months.

Tags: Britain, e-commerce, High Street, online shopping

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