Online sales were "booming" in November, according to the head of the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
The organisation's latest figures show that non-food non-store trade for the month, which covers internet purchases and parcels ordered via mail and phone, were 17.6 per cent higher compared with the corresponding period of last year.
Annual growth had picked up from October and was above the rise of 16.9 per cent recorded in November 2009, the BRC noted.
Stephen Robertson said the positive performance, which is being driven by online Christmas shopping, is a piece of good news amid an eighth consecutive month of weak expansion in overall trade.
On a like-for-like basis, retail sales rose by 0.7 per cent in the 12 months to November.
Total sales were 2.8 per cent higher, down from an increase of 4.1 per cent a year earlier.
According to the Interactive Media in Retail Group, online Christmas shopping "burst into life" on December 6th - dubbed Mega Monday - as spending per minute reached a peak of £831,000.
Author: Adrian Medland