January 8, 2020 / 3:54 PM / 18 days ago

Factbox: Festive cheer falls flat for some British retailers

(Reuters) - Britain’s retailers reported mixed results for the critical Christmas period, with major supermarkets suffering their slowest festive season in years while at least one clothes chain notched up better-than-expected sales.

FILE PHOTO: Signage for Sainsbury's is seen at a branch of the supermarket in London, Britain, January 8, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Data this week showed that the decisive Conservative Party win in last month’s general election had not unleashed pent-up demand from shoppers during the holiday season as many retailers had hoped following a year of political instability and uncertainty over Brexit.

That followed relatively subdued updates from the high street following “Black Friday” sales at the end of November.

Tesco (TSCO.L) and Marks & Spencer (MKS.L) are scheduled to post their trading statements on Thursday followed by JD Sports (JD.L) on Friday.

Following are some of the highlights:


Britain’s No. 2 supermarket group reported a slight drop in underlying sales on Jan. 8 as weak demand for general merchandise overshadowed solid sales of food.

Like-for-like sales, excluding fuel, fell 0.7% in the 15 weeks to Jan. 4.


The country’s fourth-largest supermarket group reported another fall in underlying sales over Christmas on Jan. 7 as a tough economic backdrop and sustained consumer uncertainty deterred shoppers from splashing out.


The British arm of the German discount supermarket said on Jan. 6 total sales rose 7.9% year-on-year in the four weeks to Dec. 24, driven by strong demand for beer, wine and spirits and its range of premium products.


The British clothing retailer raised its full-year profit forecast on Jan. 3 after a better-than-expected Christmas performance.

Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; editing by Josephine Mason and Nick Macfie

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