How did UK retailers do over the festive period? We’ve sorted the winners from the losers:
- Like-for-like sales rose 5.1% compared to last year.
- 21.4% rise in online revenues, which now represent two-fifths of all sales.
- In stores, the six weeks to 2 January saw a 1.2% fall in sales (fewer shopping trips in the run-up to Christmas than last year).
- In-store sales in the last week to 2 January were up 16.2%
- Total sales at John Lewis were £951.3m.
- Waitrose sales like-for-like sales down 1.4% for the period, despite record trading days on the 23 and 24 December.
- Waitrose total sales excluding fuel were £859.8m.
- On the Black Friday weekend, distribution teams processed 18% more parcels than last year, equating to five units per second during the peak hour.
- Sales from smartphones and tablets up 31%
Click-and-collect sales were up 16% and it was the delivery method of choice for half of all online orders.
CONCLUSION: A strong trading period with a significant online surge in sales.
- A 0.5% fall in full-price sales.
- Shares fell 5%.
- A sharp slowdown in its Next Directory online and catalogue arm – sales up just 2% compared to 6.1% growth for the year-to-date.
- The overall performance for full-price brand sales across stores and Directory was 0.4% higher for the period – a sharp slowdown on the 3.3% hike seen in its half-year to July.
CONCLUSION: A weak trading period that the retailer hailed as ‘disappointing’ – blaming warmer weather for lack of sales.
- Food sales were up 3.7% and 0.4% like-for-like.
- Food sales up 17% in the key Christmas week.
- General merchandise sales down 5% and 5.8% like-for-like.
- Online sales up 20.9%.
CONCLUSION: M&S’ food business had its best ever Christmas, significantly outperforming the market with record sales. In general merchandise, the retailer faced challenging trading conditions and fell short on availability. Like Next, the retailer blamed “unseasonal weather” for impacting sales across the clothing sector.
- Total sales growth was 42.6% compared to the same period last year, boosted by the acquisition of Naked Wines.
- On a pro forma basis over the period group sales were up 12.2% (based on constant foreign exchange rates, excluding movement in en primeur sales).
- Majestic Retail like for like sales grew 7.3% in the period (versus decline of 1.7% in comparator period).
CONCLUSION: According to the retailer, growth in sales were supported by “strategic investments to reinvigorate sales growth with a new and simplified pricing policy and improved customer experience in store and on-line.”
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