NOVEMBER 23: A shop front displays its Black Friday sales posters in Buchanan Street on November 23, 2018 in Glasgow, Scotland. Crowds of shoppers are out looking for bargains during the pre Christmas sale extravaganza that is Black Friday.

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Jeff J Mitchell

Most of the UK’s largest buying chains have reported Christmas gross sales and it is a very blended image.

Whereas the commerce physique for outlets, the British Retail Consortium, stated it has been the worst Christmas for retailers in 10 years, some retailers have had a comparatively good festive interval.

“Retail is going through essentially the most disruption it is ever confronted,” says Alan O’Neill, who was employed at Selfridges as a marketing consultant when it was purchased by the Weston household in 2003.

So whose tills overflowed with Christmas cheer and whose takings resembled an empty stocking?

The gross sales figures within the graphic above cowl completely different reporting durations as the businesses observe no conference on what constitutes the Christmas season.


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AFP/UIG by way of Getty Photographs

Morrisons and Tesco

Opposite to the same old theme of mid-market shops being squeezed, Tesco and Morrisons each posted will increase in gross sales. Each have been helped out by gross sales outdoors their superstores.

Morrisons stated sales rose 3.6% in the nine weeks to 6 January. A three% rise within the wholesale division, which provides Amazon and McColls, assisted its development. Within the shops, gross sales rose zero.6%

Tesco, Britain’s greatest retailer, beat forecasts with a 2.2% rise in comparable sales for the six weeks to five January. That beat Metropolis estimates of as much as 1.5%.

“It seems to be like Christmas delivered the products for Tesco,” stated Sophie Lund-Yates, fairness analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown. “After all, the coast is not completely clear – Aldi and Lidl are shifting in on market share.”

Nevertheless, Tesco and Morrisons could merely have “bounced again” from the bottom misplaced final yr, which was notably onerous on the superstores, warned retail marketing consultant Clare Bailey.

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Getty Photographs/AFP

Aldi and Lidl

German low cost grocery store chain Aldi stated it made virtually £1bn in gross sales throughout December in its best-ever Christmas buying and selling, with gross sales 10% greater than the earlier yr. Lidl gross sales jumped 16%.

In response to information from market researchers Kantar, Aldi and Lidl had a mixed market share of 12.7% over the 12-week festive interval, their highest-ever for Christmas.

Two-thirds of all households shopped at both Aldi or Lidl over that point, Kantar stated.

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Selfridges reported sales up 8% within the first 24 days of December.

The division retailer stated it helped draw prospects by way of varied entertainments together with a Christmas cabaret, confetti cannons, visits from Father Christmas and choirs. A five-year £300m refit of its flagship London retailer can be beneath approach.


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Debenhams and Marks & Spencer

The 2 malls, with greater than 300 years of historical past between them, had a tough Christmas. Debenhams, which is shutting 50 shops, stated gross sales within the six weeks to five Jan dropped three.four%. Clients have been in a bargain-hunting temper, it stated. Over the longer 18-week buying and selling interval, gross sales fell 5.7%.

Delicate climate and promotions have been blamed by Marks & Spencer for a gross sales drop of two.2% within the 13 weeks to 29 December. Meals gross sales fell 2.1% and its clothes and residential gross sales division slid 2.four%.

“Their proposition is simply now not related to their viewers,” says Invoice Grimsey, former chief govt of Wickes, Iceland and Focus DIY, and writer of two critiques of the Excessive Road. “For Marks & Spencer, Subsequent is doing a greater job and in Debenhams’ case the 1980s aren’t right here at present.”

Discounting merchandise “is not working” for both retailer, he provides.

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Mothercare blamed a “tough shopper backdrop” for a fall in gross sales within the UK in its final quarter. Sales fell 11.4% and on-line gross sales dropped extra, by 16.three%, the agency stated on Wednesday. It has discounted much less of its inventory this yr, it added.

The enterprise is closing 36 shops and by the top of March, there will likely be 79 shops, down from 137 in Might 2018.

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Sainsbury’s has seen gross sales fall over Christmas after non-food buying and selling was hit.

Gross sales, excluding takings from shops open lower than a yr, fell by 1.1% across the Christmas period.

Common merchandise gross sales, together with at Sainsbury’s-owned Argos, fell by 2.three% and total clothes gross sales by zero.2%.

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Halfords issued a revenue warning after gross sales at established shops fell 1.7% for the 14 weeks to 4 January.

The automobile and bike components store blamed gentle winter climate in November and December, as motoring-related gross sales led the decline, dropping three.four%.

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Getty Photographs


It’s maybe a glib transfer to incorporate the music retailer, however HMV was among the many extra extreme losers after calling in administrators for the second time in six years, involving 2,200 workers at 125 shops.

House owners Hilco, which took the corporate out of its first administration in 2013, blamed a “tsunami” of retail challenges.

What to look out for in 2019

Outlets doing poorly are most likely led by complacent administration who “do not take the dangers they should take”, says Alan O’Neill, the previous Selfridges marketing consultant.

His recommendation for them is to chop extra buying area, negotiate with landlords, broaden on-line somewhat than admitting defeat to online-only shops like Asos, and to cease discounting as a promotional instrument. As a substitute, make use of January gross sales to shift previous inventory.

Outlets doing effectively are taking dangers with intelligent campaigns and spending cash on high-quality shops, merchandise and repair.

Reducing prices from workers to product high quality can be hurting retail gross sales and finally revenue, says retail business marketing consultant Richard Hyman.

“It is not tough to chop prices in a enterprise,” he stated, however it’s onerous to do it with out shrinking gross sales.

Common business-watchers could have famous that these updates are for gross sales solely – no point out of revenue. And that they’re revealed in a short time after the occasion.

“The truth that these numbers are unaudited and unregulated, and a lot retailer is about by them, is a disconnect,” says Mr Hyman. “We want these numbers to be regulated and to be audited.

“The true proof of the pudding will likely be in April,” he instructed the BBC, when audited outcomes will likely be out there, and, crucially, revenue numbers, which is able to present what impact reductions could have had.