Page last updated at 11:02 GMT, Monday, 11 January 2010

Poundland, House of Fraser and Co-op see sales rise

Poundland boss on profits boost

A range of retailers have reported buoyant trading over the Christmas period, but remain cautious about 2010.

Poundland saw a 4.4% rise in like-for-like sales, which strip out the impact of new store openings, over the five weeks to 3 January.

The Co-operative Group reported a 4.8% increase in sales, excluding fuel, in the 12-week period to 2 January.

Department store group House of Fraser said it had enjoyed its "biggest ever" Christmas week.

The company said like-for-like sales rose 7.1% in the eight weeks to 2 January.

The latest updates from retailers follow upbeat trading reports from John Lewis, Next and Sainsbury's last week.

Tesco, Debenhams and HMV are also due to update the market this week.

However, the British Retail Consortium has warned that retailers face a tough 2010 as uncertainty about the economy continues.

Expansion

Poundland currently has 254 stores across the UK but is planning on opening one new shop a week.

TRADING UPDATES AT A GLANCE
M&S - like-for-like sales up 0.8% in three months to 26 December
John Lewis - revenues of £500.8m in five weeks to 2 January. Like-for-like sales up 12.7%
Next - like-for-like sales up 3.2% in 22 weeks to 24 December
Asda - said it had a 'solid' Christmas
Majestic Wine - like-for-like sales up 11.7% in nine weeks to 4 January
Ocado - like-for-like sales up 30% in four weeks to 26 December
Shop Direct - sales up 6.3% in six weeks to 1 January
Sainsbury's - like-for-like sales up 3.7%, excluding fuel, in the 13 weeks to 2 January.

"We'll probably add another 50 [shops] next [fiscal] year," chief executive Jim McCarthy told the Reuters news agency.

He added that the chain would offer permanent jobs to 360 temporary workers taken on over Christmas.

Meanwhile, the Co-operative, which bought Somerfield last year, said its customers had been "determined to make the most of Christmas", with sales of champagne up 83%.

The UK's fifth biggest food retailer said that the price cuts and promotional package it had launched in the run-up to Christmas had been "well-received".

But it warned that economic pressures would continue until the end of 2010 or the first half of 2011.

'Tough outlook'

House of Fraser said its sales growth reflected its continuing efforts to improve the business, including store refurbishments and developing its own-brand products.

Sales of brands owned by House of Fraser, including Linea, Kenneth Cole and Episode, rose 33%.

The firm said some of its branches, such as its flagship Oxford Street store, had enjoyed record sales, but added "the general outlook for retailing will be tough until the overall national economic position improves".

The first couple of weeks of 2010 may prove particularly difficult for retailers as the heavy snow and ice keeps shoppers at home.

Figures from research firm Synovate show that overall shopper numbers in non-food stores in the UK on Sunday 10 January were down 14% from the equivalent Sunday last year.

Since the most recent snowfalls began, retail traffic is running about 21% lower than last year, Synovate said.



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