Your personal data is protected in the UK by the Data Protection Act 1998. Under this Act we will only process any data we hold about you in a lawful and fair manner. We will keep your data securely to prevent unauthorised access by third parties.
A cookie is a small text file that is sent from a web server and is stored on your computer or mobile phone's hard disk. This text file contains data that allows the website to store information about your visit and can be used for a number of purposes including knowing which shopping cart is yours or whether you are logged etc.
Each website can send its own cookie(s) to your browser if your browser's preferences allow it, but (to protect your privacy) your browser only permits a website to access the cookies it has already sent to you, not the cookies sent to you by other websites.
Users have the opportunity to set their devices to accept all cookies, to notify them when a cookie is issued, or not to receive cookies at any time. If the browser for any reason does not accept the cookie this might disable some functionality of the website, such as logging in or adding items to a cart.
Cookies enable website publishers to do useful things such as see that a collection of page requests all come from the same browser (visitor). A cookie containing a random number is established as the first page loads, then as another page is requested the server can detect the cookie and know it's the same visitor. This allows us to do useful things like know which visitor owns a certain shopping cart, or whether a user is logged into a customer account etc.