What the major UK retailers have said about their trading over the crucial Christmas season so far:
Shares across the sector soared on hopes that a positive trading result for the fashion and homewares retailer would be mirrored elsewhere.
Next, the first listed company to announce its progress, reported on Wednesday a 1.5% rise in full-price sales over the festive season. It had forecast a fall of 0.3% because of financial pressures facing shoppers.
Share gains were reversed on Thursday when Debenhams released an unscheduled profit warning.
The department store chain said comparable sales in the UK were down on December the previous year and admitted it had discounted heavily to compete – hurting its bottom line. Its shares lost almost a quarter of their value in early deals.
Image: Poundland says it has not been affected by Steinhoff’s troubles
There is a crisis at the discount retailer’s parent company, Steinhoff, as it battles accounting irregularities – with Poundland forced to deny it was having supply issues as a result.
The early evidence would support that assertion as the retailer said it enjoyed the best festive season in its 27-year history, with like-for-like sales up 6% over the three weeks to Christmas Day despite some wintry weather disruption.
The UK’s fifth-largest supermarket chain said it also had a record Christmas – with annual sales topping £10bn for the first time.
It credited sales of its “specially selected” premium range of food for driving 15% growth in December.
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Image: Jigsaw has 80 UK stores with a focus firmly in London. Pic: Jigsaw
The premium fashion retailer refused to participate in the frenzy of Black Friday discounting – holding back on major promotions despite a “challenging” market. It said sales for the five weeks to 31 December were 7% up on last year.