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Last Updated: Monday, 20 August 2007, 08:40 GMT 09:40 UK
Online sales set record in July
Many shoppers are happier to sit at home rather than hit the streets
Wet weather in July drove online shopping to record levels as consumers surfed the net rather than sloshing down the High Street, a report claims.

Internet sales rose to 4.2bn in July, up from 2.34bn in the same month a year ago, according to the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG).

Sales are also picking up as retailers improve websites, and as consumers get faster internet connections, IMRG said.

Analysts have been worried that higher interest rates would deter consumers.

Rising costs

The Bank of England has raised its main borrowing cost five times in the past year to their current level of 5.75% as it tries to slow the rate of inflation.

Earlier this month, the Office for National Statistics said that UK retail sales increased by more than many analysts had expected in July.

However, the increase was mainly driven by discounting and sales as shops and companies tried to tempt consumers into spending their money.

IMRG said that the fastest growing sector of online sales was electrical goods, which almost doubled from a year earlier.

Sales of clothing and accessories increased by nearly 60%, IMRG said.

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