Internet retail success sparks surge in new start-ups

Online retail businesses have soared since the official end of the recession, with more that 3,500 online start ups achieving sales of more than £100,000.

Figures put together by original internet auction site, eBay, show that more than 24,000 new businesses registered on eBay UK last year, marking a 38 per cent rise in registrations than the year before. The figures marked an even more stark contrast with the figures from 2007 when there was an eight per cent annual fall in registrations in the year immediately preceding the recession.

eBay said that the growth was fairly evenly spread across the country, although Birmingham showed particular entrepreneurial spirit when it came to start-ups. Of the 24,000 national total, 1,700 were located in the Midlands city, with Manchester, Sheffield and Nottingham also found to be particular 'hotspots'. Less active cities, however, included Southampton, Norwich and Swindon.

One internet retail success story is Glasgow-based fabric tradesman, Peter Kenny, who said he has seen his sales quadruple since setting up an online retail arm to complement his bricks and mortar side of the business he has run since 1990.

"The start up costs are negligible from what you can get back," he said. "And from a standing start we have done really well. It’s revitalised the shop as we can see what sells online and bring it in."