By Chloe Rigby

UK shoppers spent £1bn a week online in March, 19.5% more than they did in the same month last year, official figures showed today.

That total accounts for 15.5% of all retail spending, excluding fuel, during the month, and contrasts with 13.6% a year ago, according to today’s Office for National Statistics’ Retail Sales report for March 2017.

The figures also showed that overall retail sales, which predominantly take place in store, was up by 1.7% in March 2016 compared to the previous year, but down by 1.8% compared to the previous month, February 2017, as average store prices, including fuel, rose by 3.3% – the largest growth since March 2012. That includes the cost of petrol, which rose by 16.4%, year-on-year. The three months to March 2017 saw the first quarterly decline in retail sales since 2013, said the ONS.

Kate Davies, ONS senior statistician said: “Today’s retail sales figures show a decline on the month and on the three months to March, which coincides with quarter 1 in 2017. This is the first time we’ve seen a quarterly decline since 2013, and it seems to be a consequence of price increases across a whole range of sectors.”

Online, the fastest growth came at textile, clothing and footwear stores, where ecommerce sales rose by 28.1% and accounted for 15% of all retail sales in the sector. Food sales grew by 19.2% to account for 5% of retail sales…