Figures published today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that Internet sales now represent 3.7 percent of total retail sales.

The new data indicates that Internet sales as a percentage of total retail sales have been steadily growing since mid-2008.

January's 3.7 percent share compares with 3.1 percent in January 2008 and 3.5 percent in December 2008.

The average weekly value of Internet retail sales during January was approximately £178 million. The figures represent an estimate of the specific contribution of Internet sales to overall retail sales in Great Britain.

ONS includes Internet data in its retail sales figures but now also separately identifies the numbers for Internet-only stores as well as high street and other stores with an Internet element to their business.

The estimate includes sales of goods to consumers for personal and household use. It does not include services bought over the Internet.