Online retail sales rose 11 percent in the first three months of 2009, according to a flash survey conducted by Forrester for This is a nice rebound from the holiday retail season, which suffered its worst year in 40 years to close out 2008. “It seems that consumer confidence is getting better,” Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru told Bloomberg. “There is so much price competition out there that you can find great deals. Hopefully the worst is behind us.” 58 percent of the survey’s 80 respondents reported an increase in Q1 Internet sales over last year. 13 percent reported that sales remained


The most successful retailers were large retailers, those whose annual ecommerce sales were over $100 million. 87 percent of respondents in this category had increased Q1 sales.

About half of medium retailers ($10-100 million annually) and small retailers (less than $10 million annually) had sales increases for the quarter.

“While comments vary from retailer to retailer, one thing we did start to hear (if here and there, to be sure) is that March saw some improvement over January and February,” Head of Research Fiona Swerdlow wrote on the company’s blog. "

We trust that April, May and June will take their heed from that budding movement,” Swerdlow.

Online retailers are performing much better than their brick-and-mortar cousins. Overall retail sales fell 2.1 percent in March, according to Goldman Sachs. Department stores were the hardest hit.

By Mark Alvarez