Christmas 2012: The winners and losers on the high street

Christmas 2012 brought mixed fortunes at the tills for the UK's hard-pressed retail sector

Christmas 2012 brought mixed fortunes at the tills for the UK's hard-pressed retail sector - Credit: PA

A SUMMARY of how the UK’s leading retailers have fared as the reporting season for festive sales figures has unfolded.

WINNERS

January 2: The reporting season for retail sales over the festive period got off to a stunning start as department stores chain John Lewis reported like-for-like growth of 13% for the five weeks to December 29. Total sales for the period were 14.8% up on 2011 at £684.8million, representing 25.5% growth compared with two years ago, or 20.1% on a like-for-like basis.

January 3: Fashion and home wares retailer Next posted a 3.9% increase in sales for November and December, and said it was on track for profits growth at the top end of expectations. The growth was driven by a strong online performance, with Directory revenues rising by 11.2% between November 1 and December 24, but its store sales were also better than many City expectations, coming in 0.8% higher than a year earlier.

January 7: Department stores chain House of Fraser reported its “best ever” Christmas performance, with sales up 6.3% in the six weeks to January 5, with online revenues up 48% in the period.


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January 8: Department stores group Debenhams posted a 5% like-for-like increase in sales for the five weeks to January 5, although it cautioned that margins has been eroded by early discounting.

January 8: Homewares retailer Dunelm said its like-for-like sales for the 26 weeks to December 29 were 2.2% up compared with a year earlier, despite the rate of growth easing to 1.6% during the second quarter.

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January 8: Majestic Wine said that a late surge in demand had left like-for-like sales for the seven weeks to December 31 1.1% up on the previous year, with total sales for the period 5.1% ahead.

January 9: Sainsbury’s hailed a record-breaking festive trading week, with sales of more than £100million on Christmas Eve and a record hourly total of £16m on December 23. Like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, for the 14 weeks to January 5 were 0.9% up, although this was slightly lower than the 1.9% growth seen the previous quarter.

January 9: Designer brand Ted Baker reported a 20.9% increase in retail sales for the eight weeks to January 5.

The company gave no like-for-like figure but said the sales growth compared with a 13.9% increase in average retail square footage compared with a year earlier.

January 10: Tesco revealed its best UK sales growth in three years, with a like-for-like increase of 1.8% for the six weeks to January 5, although the figure was flattered by comparison with a disastrous performance a year earlier when the company was forced to admit it had got its pricing strategy wrong.

January 10: JD Sports Fashion reported a record Christmas for its core brand, with its JD Sports fascia shops seeing like-for-like sales growth of 3.2% in the seven weeks to January 5. But it said a disappointment performance from the Blacks and Millets outdoor business, which it rescued from administration a year ago, would drag on the group’s full-year profits.

January 10: Shop Direct Group, owner of brands including Littlewoods, Very.co.uk parent, Woolworths.co.uk and isme, hailed “the year of the tablet computer”, as sales of more than 91,000 tablets helped it to a 5% increase in group-wide sales in the six weeks to December 29.

January 14: Menswear retailer and hire business Moss Bros reported better-than-expected Christmas trading after seeing younger customers smarten up for the party season, with like-for-like sales up 2.7% in the 24 weeks to January 12.

January 15: Halfords lifted its profit forecast after a late rally enabled it to post like-for-like sales growth of 0.4% in the 15 weeks to January 11, with demand for premium bike brands such as Carrera helping offset a “disappointing” start to the festive trading period.

January 15: Luxury goods brand Burberry reported better-than-expected pre-Christmas trading. Despite fears last autumn that China’s appetite for the firms bags and coats may be on the wane, revenues grew by 13% in the three months to December 31, and by 6% on a like-for-like basis.

January 17: Dixons Retail, owner of PC World and Currys, said its like-for-like sales in the UK and Ireland rose up 8% in the 12 weeks to January 5, despite the administrators of failed rival Comet holding a clearance sale for the vast bulk of the period.

January 17: Parent company Home Retail Group said catalogue business Argos had achieved a 2.7% increase in like-for-like sales in the 18 weeks to January 5, helped by strong demand for consumer electronics.

January 17: Budget fashion chain Primark achieved a 25% increase in total sales over the 16 weeks to January 5, parent company Associated British Foods said.

January 24: Carphone Warehouse joined the list of retailers to have benefited from the boom in demand for tablet computers and smart phones as it posted a 16% leap in UK sales for the quarter to December, but the group admitted that the increase had come at the expense of margins.

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LOSERS

January 7: Supermarket chain Morrisons reported a 2.5% fall in like-for-like sales for the six weeks to December 30, a performance it acknowledged was “disappointing”,

January 9: Specialist camera retailer Jessops collapsed into administration after disappointing pre-Christmas trading failed to generate the expected level of profit for the heavily indebted firm. Two days later, the administrators closed its entire chain of 187 stores, with the loss of 1,370 jobs.

January 9: Bakery chain Greggs blamed December’s severe wet weather for a 2.9 fall in like-for-like sales in the five weeks to January 5. It said many of its town centre shops were hit by the rain and flooding last month as shoppers chose the shelter of shopping centres or stayed at home and bought gifts online.

January 10: Marks & Spencer saw its share price drop sharply the morning after being forced to bring forward the release of its figures by several hours due to a leak. M&S saw overall like-for-like sales fall 1.8% in the 13 weeks to December 19, including a worse-than-expected 3.8% fall in general merchandise, although food sales were slightly ahead of forecasts, rising 0.3%.

January 11: Jeweller-to-the-stars Theo Fennell warned that “disappointing” Christmas sales would hit annual results after fewer shoppers visited its stores. The group , whose customers have included Elton John, Victoria Beckham and Lady Gaga, saw a slump in international and UK customers over the festive period as poor consumer confidence took its toll on luxury spending.

January 15: Ailing music chain HMV called time on its long battle for survival by calling in administrators, putting around 4,000 jobs at risk, after it acknowledged it would be unable to meet conditions attached to its loans.

January 16: DVD and video games rental firm Blockbuster UK followed Jessops and HMV into administration, putting nearly 4,200 jobs at risk, with competition from internet firms and digital streaming of movies and games blamed for its difficulties.

January 16: French Connection warns of more big losses after UK sales continue to decline, with a like-for-like fall of 2.9% in the 24 weeks to January 12, although it said this partly reflected a decision to delay its winter sale by a week.

January 17: Home Retail Group said its Homebase DIY and garden centres business had seen like-for-like sales fall by 3.9% in the 18 weeks to January 15.

January 17: Mothercare admitted that same-store sales in the UK fell by 5.9% in the 13 weeks to January 12, but insisted that its turnaround plans remained on track.

January 23: WH Smith said like-for-like revenues had fallen 5% in the 20 weeks to January 20, although it insisted that, with close management of margins and costs, it had still delivered a “good” profits performance.

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