High street winners and losers

How UK retailers fared over the festive period – in-store and online


Verdict WINNER

Sales* up 0.9% (14 weeks to 5 January)

Sainsbury’s boss Justin King claimed that his supermarket was the “clear winner” of the festive trading period, recording its strongest ever performance in the week before Christmas, including more than £100m of sales on Christmas Eve alone.


Verdict WINNER

Sales up 1.8% (6 weeks to 5 January)

Philip Clarke, Tesco’s boss, also claimed victory in the Christmas trading battle, which prompted Sainsbury’s bosses to question Tesco’s figures.


Verdict WINNER

Sales up 5.4% (12 days to 31 December)

Waitrose reported a surge in orders made on tablets, with 22.8% of orders over Christmas made using a tablet, compared with 16.5% made via a mobile phone.



Sales up 14% (6 weeks to 6 January)

Sales in the seven days before Christmas were up 17% to £21.8m. Average orders per week rose 11.4% to 125,971 from 113,115 in 2011.

Wm Morrison

Verdict LOSER

Sales down 2.5% (6 weeks to 30 December)

Morrison’s was the worst performer of the large supermarket groups and analysts said it managed to avoid a profits warning only by heavily trailing its weak sales. Lost out because it has few convenience stores and no online shopping.

Marks & Spencer

Verdict LOSER

Sales fashion and home – down 3.8%, food up 0.3% (13 weeks to 29 December)

Marc Bolland, M&S’s boss, was forced to release trading figures – which were worse than even the most pessimistic analysts predicted – a day ahead of schedule after the figures were leaked.


Verdict WINNER

Sales up 2.2% (3 weeks to 5 January)

Champagne sales were up 29%, while sales of puddings such as profiteroles rose 32% and party food sales were 53% higher. Convenience stores did best.


Verdict WINNER

Sales up 3.9% (1 November- 24 December), with online growing far faster.

Analysts reckon the fall in store sales of 1% is comparable with other retailers. Saved by online trade and the fact that the retailer bought less stock, meaning less left over to be marked down in the sale.

John Lewis

Verdict WINNER

Sales up 14.8% (5 weeks to 29 December)

Online sales were 44% higher than last year, with johnlewis.com now representing £1 out of every £4 spent with the company.


Verdict WINNER

Sales up 9% (3 months to 31 December)

Chief executive Angela Ahrendts said Burberry benefited “from a particularly strong week in the runup to Christmas” in an otherwise difficult quarter. It was a bounce back from a grim outlook in September.

French Connection

Verdict LOSER

Sales down 2.9% (in UK and Europe, 24 weeks to 12 January)

French Connection warned that it will plunge into the red by up to £8m this year after a decision to delay its winter sale tore into profits.


Verdict WINNER

Sales up 5% (5 weeks to 5 January)

Notched up a record December after offering steep discounts, including 50% off some knitwear, lingerie and beauty lines in the “toughest trading for 40 years”.


Verdict WINNER (just)

Sales up 1% (15 weeks to 11 January)

Overall bike sales were down 1.6% on a same-store basis but premium brands, such as Carrera and a range designed by Olympic cyclist Chris Boardman, were up 33%.

Majestic Wine

Verdict LOSER

Sales up 1.1% (7 weeks to 31 December)

Majestic said its refusal to match aggressive discounts at supermarkets led to slower sales growth than in previous years.

JD Sports

Verdict LOSER

Sales up 3.2% (UK & Ireland, 7 weeks to 5 January)

Losses from selling outdoor clothing prompted JD to warn that annual profits would be at the low end of market expectations. “The business is much more weather-sensitive and there hasn’t been much snow this Christmas,” explained chairman Peter Cowgill.


Verdict WINNER

Sales Primark reported up 25% (16 weeks to 5 January), but analysts say up 9% on figures comparable with other retailers.

“This performance is well ahead of expectations,” Panmure Gordon analysts said.


Verdict WINNER

Sales up 34% (UK, in December)

The online clothing retailer, whose customers include Michele Obama and Nicole Scherzinger, said sales had never been stronger, with particularly high demand for black and white themed clothes and retro caps and trainers.

*Sales: like-for-like sales, which exclude any increases as a result of new shopfloor space or new outlets (except Next, Ocado,Primark, John Lewis and Asos, who report only total sales). Supermarket sales exclude fuel sales and VAT (except Co-op).

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