shopping cartIf you’re looking for some good news beyond social media, check out ecommerce. Internet Retailer’s forthcoming 2009 Top 500 Guide reports that sales for the 245 retailers reporting actual 2008 numbers have grown by 15 percent to $55.6 billion from $48.3 billion in 2007.

Before getting too excited, understand that Amazon’s $19 billion in 2008 sales wrecks the curve a little bit. Without Amazon online sales, the remaining retailers increased by 8.82 percent to $36.47 billion last year from $33.52 billion in the prior year. During a year when overall retail sales are expected to decline substantially when the numbers are all in, even an 8 percent increase shows that consumers will spend money online.

Web-only retailers continue to be the fastest growing channel with combined sales of $31.30 billion in 2008, up 23.37 percent  from $25.37 billion in 2007. Amazon dominates the web-only channel, accounting for 61% of web-only sales and 34% of total online sales. Without Amazon, web-only merchants grew by 14.76% to $12.13 billion last year from $10.57 billion in the prior year.

Amazon aside, multi-channel retailers that break out online sales are consistent with the 2008 trend. Several multichannel retailers reporting results today had horrendous overall revenue pictures for 2008, but pushed online revenue substantially. Among them:

  • Dillard’s: In its 2008 fiscal year web sales grew 18.1% to reach $95.7 million compared with $81.0 million in 2007. Total sales dropped 5.1 percent to $6.83 billion in 2008 from $7.2 billion in 2007.

  • Fossil: The 2008 fiscal year ended with web sales up at the watch and accessories manufacturer and retailer. It posted a 22.8 percent increase to $45.7 million, up $8.5 million from $37.2 million a year earlier.

  • Children’ The online division of Children’s Place Retail Stores posted sales of $82.7 million, up 54.5 percent from $53.5 million the previous year. By contrast, total sales for the Children’s Place brand rose 7 percent to $1.63 billion, up from $1.52 billion in 2007.