Department store chain House of Fraser became the latest retailer to reveal festive trading woes as it saw store sales slump 2.9% in the run up to Christmas.
The embattled group - which revealed it was asking landlords to cut some of its rents last week - said the sales fall over the crucial six weeks to December 23 came as it held off from heavy discounting outside of Black Friday. Online sales tumbled 7.5% as it continued to come under pressure after the recent launch of a new web platform. But chairman Frank Slevin insisted it was a "credible performance" in a difficult retail market.
Close rival Debenhams warned over profits last week after tough trading, while figures also out yesterday from Marks & Spencer showed a steep fall in clothing and home sales, although it blamed this on an unusually warm October. House of Fraser said Black Friday was more successful for the chain, with sales up 0.8% in stores.