Matalan online sales up by a third over Christmas

Shop Direct, JD Sports and Matalan have all reported stronger than expected sales figures over the Christmas period, driven by discounting strategies and online growth.

Of Shop Direct’s sub-brands, Very was the stand out performer, with revenue growth of 8.8 per cent year-on-year for the seven week-period ending 28 December.

Overall sales at the group, which also operated online retailer Littlewoods, increased 3.7 per cent year-on-year.

It also attributed the 107.3 million site visits recorded during the period - an eight per cent increase year-on-year - to an extended Black Friday sales period.

“Throughout our peak trading period we focused on delivering a great customer experience and curating the right deals for our customers and our business during our extended Black Friday event,” stated Shop Direct chief executive Henry Birch.

JD Sports meanwhile, saw like-for-like sales up five per cent for the 48 weeks to 5 January, while total sales increased 15 per cent during the period.

The footwear and clothing retailer said it was confident that pre-tax profits for the fiscal year ending 2 February would be at the upper end of market expectations, currently between £325 million and £352 million.

Its trading updated added that gross profit margins were maintained as it did not enter into “short-term reactive discounting unnecessarily” during the period.

Finally, Matalan’s results for the peak trading five weeks to 29 December showed a total revenue increase of four per cent, driven by in-store sales growth of 1.6 per cent and online sales up by a third.

Chief executive Jason Hargreaves said that full price sales growth of 7.3 per cent in the third quarter accelerated from the first half and was driven through complementary store and online channels.

“Growing sales over Christmas by four per cent, including 33 per cent growth online, without material dilution to our full price position is a testament to the strength and relevance of our offer,” he commented.

“The refurbishment of our existing store estate will continue as will the opening of several new stores, alongside this we will further grow our online penetration and add even more product choice.”

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