Which Retailers Had Better Trade Over the Christmas Period?

Posted on 13 January, 2012 by MOVEHUT

There are so many reports in the news headlines about retails struggling and having to go into administration. However, some are reporting that various shops have seen an increase in sales. To summarise the situation, MOVEHUT recaps how retail commercial properties and online stores have performed over the festive period.

Good Christmas Trading:

  • Clinton Cards – reported a 0.4 per cent increase in sales, which was better than expected. Speaking of the trading, Chief Executive, Darcy Willson-Rymer, stated: “It was about having daily sales reviews and working out what were the bestsellers, moving stock around, making sure we had the right numbers of people in stores in the right places.”
  • Greggs – sales were up by 5.1 per cent over Christmas in their commercial properties, which the company said were influenced by the cost of ingredients falling towards the end of last year. However, the company is aware that this year will not be plain sailing. Ken McMeikan, Chief Executive stated: “We anticipate that the tough trading environment will continue during 2012, with consumers’ disposable incomes remaining under pressure.”
  • JJB Sports – was given a lifeline from administration last year, when shareholders raised nearly £100 million to save the retail commercial property chain. Since then, JJB Sports has reported a 5.0 per cent increase in sales at Christmas. Keith Jones, Chief Executive expressed: “We achieved a Christmas trading performance broadly in line with our expectations in the face of an extremely challenging consumer environment.”
  • John Lewis – saw a 6.2 per cent rise in sales over Christmas, coming mainly from technology sales. Managing Director, Andy Street, stated: “Sales during the four weeks to Christmas Eve were outstanding. During that period we broke the record for our biggest week ever with a total of £133.1m for the week ending 17 December.”
  • Majestic Wine – sales increased by 4.0 per cent over a nine week period over Christmas, which the company believes is partly due to a tasting event in November. Steve Lewis, Chief Executive, expressed: “We’ve had a marked increase in new customers, not just through the new stores. Sales to businesses – restaurants and gastropubs were also up, as well as firms buying gifts for staff.”
  • Marks & Spencer – saw an overall sales increase of 0.5 per cent, with a 1.8 per cent increase in commercial properties and a 22.4 per cent increase in online sales. Marc Bolland, Chief Executive, stated: “Our Food business performed very strongly as customers enjoyed our new and traditional Christmas products. This unique offer, coupled with our great deals, gave them more choice than ever before for a special Christmas at home.”

Bad Christmas Trading:

  • Game – suffered a tough eight weeks up until Christmas, with sales falling by 12.9 per cent. The company has had a tough few years, as many consumers now only buy large released games, such as Fifa, for example. This has resulted in the gaming market decreasing by 40 per cent in the last three years, as Ian Shepherd, Chief Executive, expressed: “I don’t think there is a retailer anywhere in the world who has watched their market ride down from 100 to 60 in just three years and not see their profit and loss hit.”
  • HMV – similar to Game, HMV suffered with sales down by 8.1 per cent. The growing trend of downloading music was believed to be the main factor which affected the company’s sales. But Chief Executive, Simon Fox, was optimistic for the future: “Whilst HMV has had a challenging year to date, it remains a profitable and cash-generative business and a powerful entertainment brand.”
  • Next – saw a drop of 2.7 per cent in its half year sales (August – December 2011). The trading was much worse than the company anticipated when comparing to the previous year, as Simon Wolfson, Chief Executive, stated: “November and December sales were disappointing given that snow adversely impacted sales in 2010.”

So overall, retailers have seen a mix of results, with some shops selling specific products performing better than others selling similar items. 2012 looks to be just as intense, if not more so for retail commercial properties than we have seen in previous years.

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