January 7, 2019 / 10:35 AM / 4 months ago

How Britain's retailers fared over Christmas - Factbox

(Reuters) - British retailers are giving updates on Christmas trading, by far their busiest and most important period of the year, stretching from “Black Friday” on Nov. 23 to early January clearance sales.

FILE PHOTO: Festive lights decorate New Bond Street as shoppers do Christmas shopping in central London, Britain, December 16, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Investors had been braced for bad news after a major profit warning from the one-time online darling ASOS Plc (ASOS.L) last month capped a torrid year for the sector marred by shop closures and bankruptcies.

On the high street the run up to Christmas was marked by discounting while the number of shoppers hitting the shops after Dec. 25 fell on previous years.

Following are the highlights:

Reported on Jan. 8.

WM Morrison Supermarket Plc (MRW.L)

Morrison, Britain’s fourth largest supermarket group, missed Christmas sales forecasts as weak consumer demand hit its retail and wholesale businesses.

Reported on Jan. 8.

Footasylum Plc (FOOT.L)

British fashion retailer Footasylum Plc warned that its full-year core earnings would come in at the lower end of analysts’ estimates, hit by lower margins and likely charges from a future cost savings initiative.

Reported on Jan. 8.

Joules Group Plc (JOUL.L)

British lifestyle brand, Joules Group Plc reported a 11.7 percent rise in retail sales for the seven-week period to Jan. 6, boosted by higher online sales.

Reported on Jan. 7.

Aldi UK [ALDIEI.UL]

Aldi UK, the British arm of the German discount supermarket, said its sales increased around 10 percent to almost 1 billion pounds ($1.28 billion) in December, driven by increased demand for its premium ranges.

Reported on Jan. 7.

Dunelm Group (DNLM.L)

Homeware retailer Dunelm Group Plc said it expects higher pretax profit for the first half of the year and forecast full-year pretax profit above the top range of analysts’ estimates if the industry continues to grow at its current pace.

Reported on Jan. 3.

Next (NXT.L)

A late surge in online demand helped British clothing retailer Next (NXT.L) to increase sales in the Christmas period, confounding fears of tough festive trading and lifting shares across the battered sector.

Reported on Jan. 2.

John Lewis

John Lewis [JLPLC.UL] said sales in its department stores rose 4.5 percent in the week ending December 29, boosted by strong demand on Christmas Eve and “a confident start to post-Christmas clearance both online and in shops”.

Reported on Dec. 29.

HMV

Music retailer HMV called in the administrators for the second time in five years after it said demand for CDs and DVDs was disappearing. One of the best known names on the high street, it plans to keep the business running while it tries to find a buyer.

($1 = 0.7841 pounds)

Reporting by Kate Holton, Noor Zainab Hussain and Samantha Machado; Editing by Keith Weir, Bernard Orr and Shounak Dasgupta

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