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Last Updated: Monday, 10 December 2007, 17:49 GMT
'Busiest day' for online shopping
Amazon's warehouse in Milton Keynes
Amazon's warehouse in Milton Keynes

UK shoppers will spend a collective 370m on purchases through the internet on Monday, the highest ever daily amount spent online, a study estimates.

Consultancy firms SecureTrading and eDigitalResearch forecast that online sales for the last three months of the year will hit 17.6bn, up 82% on 2006.

Nintendo's Wii gaming console was high on Christmas gift lists, reports said.

Retailers are facing an uncertain Christmas amid higher interest rates and signs of a weaker housing market.

Consumer caution

These worries have made consumers even shrewder bargain hunters, preventing High Street shops from passing on the higher costs of rent and other bills.

In contrast, shopping over the internet is flourishing with a number of reports out over the past month or so forecasting an unprecedented surge in online sales over the Christmas period and for 2007 as a whole.

Interactive Media and Retail Group (IMRG), the industry body for the electronic retail community, has raised its forecast for UK internet sales from 40.2bn to 53.3bn, 76% higher than the 30.2bn recorded for 2006.

IMRG's chief executive James Roper said online retailers had benefited from "ideal growth conditions" driven by greater broadband access, better functionality and familiarity with e-commerce.

Royal Mail said it had been working with internet retailers to plan for the online rush for Christmas presents.

The mail group predicts it will deliver a record 120 million items ordered online this festive season - double the number handled three years ago.

Nintendo's Wii console, Sony and Panasonic flat panel TVs, Jean Paul Gaultier's women's perfume, Bose Portable SoundDocks and Apple iPod music systems will feature highly among these items, price comparison website said.

Val Walker, head of multi-channel retail at Royal Mail, said "increased internet use and broadband access" were among the main factors driving the strong sales growth.

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