Retailers enjoyed very happy Christmas as sales grew in festive season
Retailers have been toasting a better-than-expected Christmas as this week's flurry of updates confirmed shoppers were happy to splash out over the all-important festive season.
Figures from supermarket giants Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury's and high street stalwarts Marks & Spencer and John Lewis showed the sector enjoyed impressive trading.
Fears sparked last week by Next's dismal performance have proved unfounded as the chain emerged as the only major loser over the all-important shopping season.
But it has been joined by a few rivals including John Lewis in warning over a bumpy ride ahead as rising prices from the weak pound and lacklustre wage growth threaten to bring the consumer spending boom to an end.
Here we wrap up how the major players have fared over the season:
The UK's biggest supermarket joined the list of festive winners after reporting a 0.7% rise in UK like-for-like sales over the six weeks to January 7 and notched up a 1.8% rise in third quarter sales. But shares fell after non-food sales were hit following the withdrawal of its Clubcard Boost promotion.
:: Sainsbury's and Argos
Sainsbury's posted a 0.1% rise in like-for-like sales excluding fuel in the 15 weeks to January 7, which beat forecasts for a small fall in sales. Boss Mike Coupe also hailed a 4.4% surge in sales at its recently acquired Argos business.
Morrisons hailed its strongest festive sales growth for seven years after it saw a 2.9% hike in like-for-like sales excluding fuel for the nine weeks to January 1. The sales cheer saw Bradford-based Morrisons hike its full-year profit expectations.
:: Discounters Aldi and Lidl
Lidl said sales increased 10% over December in its best ever festive sales performance. Close rival Aldi also hailed record trading, with total UK sales more than 15% higher year-on-year in December. But neither group disclosed like-for-like sales figures.
:: Marks & Spencer
M&S revealed a return to sales growth in its embattled clothing arm for the first time in nearly two years. L ike-for-like sales in its clothing and home division rose 2.3% in the 13 weeks to December 31. The group also posted a 0.6% rise in like-for-like sales across its food halls. But the performance was boosted by five extra trading days and came against an exceptionally poor performance from a year earlier.
:: John Lewis Partnership
The employee-owned group warned its renowned staff bonus may be "significantly lower" than last year in the face of a challenging market outlook. The blow came despite strong Christmas trading as John Lewis department stores reported a 2.7% rise in like-for-like sales in the six weeks to December 31, while Waitrose saw a 2.8% increase.
The chain sounded the alarm over sales and profits after dire Christmas trading. The group predicted annual profits to January 2017 would fall by around 3.6% and could plunge as much as 14% in the next financial year. Next said it suffered a 3.5% fall in full-price sales across its high street stores in the 54 days to Christmas Eve, but a better performance from its Directory catalogue arm helped limit the overall decline to 0.4%.
Debenhams said strong demand for its beauty and gift sections helped like-for-like sales rise 3.5% in the 18 weeks to January 7. Online sales also jumped 13.9% over the period, thanks in part to a "successful Black Friday".
:: House of Fraser
Department store chain House of Fraser said surging online demand helped lift festive sales by 2.7% over the six weeks to December 31. Its sales rise marked a turnaround after the group warned over high street conditions in the autumn.
Primark owner Associated British Foods said sales at the retailer jumped 22% in the 16 weeks to January 7 thanks to a boost from the Brexit-hit pound and a 16% increase in selling space. Like-for-like sales for the period were also "good", according to AB Foods.
:: Other retailers
Smaller players on the high street also joined in the Christmas cheer, such as: Mothercare, which enjoyed a return to UK sales growth; JD Sports Fashion, which said full-year profits would beat expectations by up to 15% after stellar trading; upmarket fashion brand Joules; online fashion retailer ASOS; and fashion chain Ted Baker.
Online electricals firm AO World was one of only a few to disappoint, with a lower-than-expected 8.9% rise in UK revenues over the three months to the end of December and cautious outlook comments.