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5 January 2003 ~ The UK retail sector is currently experiencing its worst period in over four decades, following the lowest annual growth for more than 40 years and a particularly weak last quarter to 2003. However there may be light at the end of the tunnel as online sales continue to defy the general trend, according to ecommerce company Actinic, who provide the sales technology for more than 10% of online stores in the UK. In its third end of year survey among a sample of its users, the company found that most web stores who responded saw rises of 10-30% in online sales compared with the same period last year. The highest increase in the sample, recorded by arts and crafts specialist, e-Pastimes ( was 400%.

Chris Barling, CEO of Actinic, explains, "I'd say that the results indicate that part of the fall in high street sales is directly attributable to increasing use of the internet by both shoppers and retailers." Mike Hughes of First Tackle ( agrees: "Our experience of Christmas trading on the internet is almost the opposite of that seen by many of the high street retailers. While they suffer from a mad last minute dash and consequent discounting, our sales boom was from early in November, only tailing off about a week before Christmas as the last posting dates loomed."

According to Modelfair (, who deal in British model railway collectables, "There is increasing confidence from the general public to buy online. Business has gone from internet sales accounting for 5% of turnover to 90% in 3 years."

The growing confidence of shoppers in the internet as a medium for purchasing is increasingly matched by retailers benefiting from the convenience and reliability of today's ecommerce technology. Steve Cooke of online retailer Shop4tools ( comments, "We have experienced a huge increase in growth in the period and the Actinic software has performed faultlessly."

For further comment, contact:
Chris Barling, Actinic Software. Tel 0845 129 4800 or 07971 191859,
Actinic's PR: Jane Lee, Dexterity. Tel 01273 470199,

About Actinic Software Ltd
Founded in 1996, Actinic specialises in developing PC-based ecommerce software for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that want to sell online. Its products include Actinic Developer, Actinic Business, Actinic Catalog and Actinic Audio Store. Actinic is a key partner in the DTI's UK online for business programme.
Actinic powers more UK ecommerce sites than any other company. Research shows that over 50% of SMEs using packaged software to run their e-stores use Actinic. Search for 'acatalog' on Google to see the vast range of online stores that run using Actinic. Some of Actinic's better known UK users include the Royal Opera House, Lloyds of London, Focus Do-it-All, Robert Dyas, the Royal Navy and Help the Aged. Visit

Trademarks: Actinic Catalog is a registered trademark of Actinic Software Limited.

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Dexterity in the following categories: Consumer Technology, Personal Finance, Business & Finance, Computing & Telecoms, for more information visit