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British consumers spent £26.5 billion (US$52.9 billion or 33.4 billion euros) on online purchases in the first half of 2008, up 38% from £19.2 billion in the first half of 2007, according to a report from Interactive Media in Retail Group, or IMRG, a UK-based advocacy group for online merchants, and France-based consulting firm Capgemini. The report predicts that "online growth will remain strong for the rest of 2008," thanks, in part, to rising fuel costs that will keep consumers away from physical stores and "smarter consumer shopping habits." Still, the normal dip in growth in online shopping during the summer was "significantly more pronounced than [in] 2007," the report says, signaling that "online spending is not immune to the credit crunch."

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