Figures from the British Retail Consortium add to the evidence that consumer spending habits have been transformed.
Consumers working and shopping from home helped retail sales to their best growth since the start of the pandemic last month but there was little cheer for the high street, new figures show.
Total sales rose by 3.9% in August compared to the same period last year, according to the British Retail Consortium (BRC).
It was the third month in a row of growth, following the reopening of stores in June, but the sector has still yet to make up for trade lost during lockdown and it is online rather than bricks-and-mortar shops that have led the way.
BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: "Despite another month of growth in August, retail sales remain down overall since the start of the pandemic."
Ms Dickinson said remote working had continued to buoy demand for food, computing, furniture and TVs.
"Lockdown also appears to have permanently changed some consumers' shopping habits, with online sales continuing to boom despite shops reopening in June," she said.
"Meanwhile, city centre retailers continue to be devastated by low footfall and poor sales, as office workers stayed away for yet another month."
Source: Sky News