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U.K. Leads Europe E-Shopping; High-Street Sites In Demand

The U.K.'s Office for National Statistics has found that U.K. shoppers are at the top of the online shopping table for Europe.The ONS data reports that 66 percent of U.K. adults ages 16 to 74, quizzed in 2009, had bought online in the previous year, follo

The U.K.'s Office for National Statistics has found that U.K. shoppers are at the top of the online shopping table for Europe.

The ONS data reports that 66 percent of U.K. adults ages 16 to 74, quizzed in 2009, had bought online in the previous year, followed by Denmark at 64 percent and the Netherlands at 63 percent. At the bottom of the table were Bulgaria and Romania with 5 percent and 2 percent, respectively.

ONS figures also showed that the value of Internet retail sales in Great Britain rose from an average weekly value of £169.3 million ($268.5 million) in November 2006 to £446.1 million ($707.5 million) in July 2010. By July 2010, Internet sales made up 8 percent of the country's total retail sales. The fastest-growing e-commerce market since 2006 is France, rising by 23 percentage points to 45 percent.

However, the appeal of premium brick-and-mortar locations on the high street shows no sign of waning, and shortage of space in sites such as London's Oxford Street are pushing rental prices sky high. Park House, which is the biggest project on Oxford Street for 50 years, is 95 percent taken and attracting record rents. Urban Outfitters and Zara are understood to be among the retailers who have deals in solicitors' hands two years before the development is finished.

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