Festive Cheer Falls Flat For Some British Grocery Retailers

By Donna Ahern
Festive Cheer Falls Flat For Some British Grocery Retailers

Britain's retailers reported mixed results for the critical Christmas period, with major supermarkets suffering their slowest festive season in years and retailers varied in their performance.

Data on Thursday showed British shoppers cut back on spending in late 2019, rounding off the worst year since at least the mid-1990s for retail sales as measured by an industry group amid uncertainty about Brexit and last month's election.

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

JD Sports is scheduled to post its trading statement on Friday followed by Primark-owner Associated British Foods next week.

Following are some of the highlights by sector:




Britain's biggest retailer ground out a 0.1% rise in underlying sales in its home market on Jan. 9 during what it said was a "subdued" Christmas for consumer spending.


Britain's No. 2 supermarket group reported a slight drop in underlying sales on 8 January 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 4 January.


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 6 January 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.


Marks & Spencer

The retailer on 9 January said its performance over the key Christmas quarter was held back by waste in its food business and weak sales of menswear and gifts.

News by Reuters, edited by Donna Ahern, Checkout. Click subscribe to sign up for the Checkout print edition.

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