A director at a multi-million pound firm says internet shopping is set to boom even further.

Amarjit Singh, sales director of online electrical retailing giant www.empiredirect.co.uk, says while the UK economy faces problems internet shopping is blossoming.

A recent report from Barclaycard found a third of all internet sales are made between 6pm and 9am - when most of the traditional high street stores are closed.

This rise in evening shopping is part of the increasing popularity of online or e-shopping, which is estimated to be growing by 90 per cent a year in the UK, according to Mr Singh.

He said: "While we see declining profits in the traditional high street shopping sector, online businesses such as Empiredirect's go from strength to strength.

"New research reveals that people want a greater choice and they don't have time to visit the high street.

"The internet caters for people with busy lives and offers a hassle-free way of choosing from a greater range of products."

The latest figures show the volume of online shopping in the UK will reach £7 billion this year, which is four per cent of all UK retail spend.

Although online businesses are winning more customers through impulse purchases, the main reason for growing consumer confidence in the industry is the fact that there is time to browse and look at products before buying.

Online sales in Europe are also growing, and look set to rise from £20 billion this year to £28 billion in 2003.

Mr Singh added: "Shopping online can be great fun, and fears about security are fading.

"New EU rules took effect in August to improve security for online sales.

"What wins business for us is good customer service and a speedy fulfilment of orders."

Empire EC plc, which was set up in Bradford by Madan Showan 18 years ago, sells cut price electrical goods direct to customers.

The firm, which is set to double its turnover from £100 million to £200 million by the end of the next financial year, is also set to expand its workforce from 250 to 400.