A significant number of retailers are posting upbeat sales figures during the Christmas period, including Selfridges, Next, John Lewis, Aldi and Dunelm.
Selfridges revealed what it called a ‘record-breaking’ Christmas trading period, with sales up by eight per cent in the final week before Christmas and up 10 per cent in its Oxford Street flagship store during the 24 days prior to Christmas, driven it aid by exclusive products.
Meanwhile, supermarket Aldi reported its ‘best-ever Christmas period’, with sales topping £1 billion in December as a whole, fuelled in part by 17 million bottles of wine, champagne and prosecco sold.
Homeware specialist Dunelm reported a 5.7 per cent increase is sales for the 13-week period ended December 29th, with total like-for-like revenue in its second quarter up a 9 per cent and online revenue up 37.9 per cent.
High street fashion retailer Next reported a sales growth of 1.5% for the last two months of 2018, with a spike in sales from the last three weeks of December, helping to save the chain and Christmas blushes.
However, there was a stark contrast between the store’s brick and mortar premises and online operation, with sales down 9.2% in the High Street, compared with a jump in website sales of 15.2%.
Lower profit margins have now been forecast as a result of fulfilling web orders, bringing annual profit down by £4m to £723m, with predictions of profits falling again Christmas 2019.
“Full price sales for the Christmas trading period have been in line with the guidance we gave in September,” the Next chief executive, Simon Wolfson, said. “Strong sales in the three weeks prior to Christmas along with a good half-term holiday week at the end of October made up for disappointing sales in November.”
Department store chain John Lewis also reported a strong finish to retail sales through the Christmas period as customers made late buying decisions, with an 11% rise in sales in the last week of 2018 compared to sales this time last year.
Attention will now focus on competitors Debenhams and Marks and Spencers.
“We think John Lewis and Next will have outperformed, however, so we still wouldn’t rule out some bad news from Debenhams or M&S,” retail analyst Nick Bubb said.