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Tuesday 23 October 2018


Mixed Christmas results for major UK retailers

Written by Chris Lemmon

John Lewis, Marks and Spencer, Tesco and Boohoo have released their trading updates for the Christmas period, revealing a mixed bag for some of the UK’s largest retailers.

John Lewis and Waitrose saw gross sales increase 3.6 per cent and 1.4 per cent respectively, with Black Friday marking John Lewis’s most successful sales day in its history – contributing to its biggest ever week of sales, up 7.2 per cent year-on-year. Two thirds of the company’s Click and Collect sales were collected from Waitrose stores, an increase of 0.9 per cent on the previous year.

Marks and Spencer saw UK food revenues increase 3.6 per cent to £1.6 billion, but clothing and home saw a 2.3 per cent decline, resulting in a total group decline of 0.1 per cent. M& saw a three per cent increase in sales, while international sales dipped 9.8 per cent.

Tesco saw sales grow 2.3 per cent on a like-for-like basis, driven by a 3.7 per cent increase in fresh food sales. The retailer enjoyed its biggest ever sales week in the UK, and saw 58 million customer transactions and 770,000 online grocery deliveries in the key Christmas week.

Online-only retailer Boohoo saw record revenues across all of its brands, with revenue growth of 100 per cent across all geographical regions. Its Boohoo brand saw revenues increase 25 per cent to £142.6 million, while PrettyLittleThing saw a 191 per cent rise to £73.8 million.

Commenting on the results, Hugh fletcher, global head of consultancy and innovation at Salmon, said: “The Christmas sales figures from retailers this week paints a varied picture of their success, with mixed sales performance across the industry. The retailers who have spent time investing and learning about omnichannel strategies are those that are starting to pull away from the less digitally literate ones, with the likes of Boohoo and Ted Baker revealing strong online sales for the Christmas period, with the latter reporting a huge 35 per cent rise in online sales.”

Paul Lewis, senior marketing director at VoucherCodes, added: “The latest set of Christmas trading figures are a mixed bag, but it is clear that there were both winners and losers in the festive battle this year. In a post-Brexit UK, retailers must ensure they are doing more than relying on the holiday season alone as a leading factor to drive footfall into their physical stores and ultimately sales.

“Whilst the rise of online continues, it does not mean that online shoppers are not also physical shoppers too. For example, our recent research found that 31 per cent of Brits planned to do their Black Friday shopping both in-stores and online, up 20 per cent from 2016.”

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