Supermarket chain Waitrose and department store House of Fraser have enjoyed strong Christmas sales performances.
The pair reported increases in like-for-like sales during the traditionally busy retail period with Waitrose seeing rises of 2.8 per cent in the five weeks to January 3rd. House of Fraser also performed strongly during a similar timeframe with like-for-like sales growing by eight per cent in the six weeks to January 3rd, compared to the same period a year earlier.
It was an impressive achievement by Waitrose which was seen to be bucking the trend in the grocery sector over the Christmas weeks. The John Lewis Partnership-owned firm is expected to outshine its competitors with brokers forecasting that none of the big four – Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's and Morrisons – will post increases in like-for-like sales.
Waitrose's performance also highlights a fightback among the more traditional supermarkets against the emerging discounters such as Aldi and Lidl. The low-cost retailers have been squeezing the mainstream supermarkets in recent months and has seen their market share increase as a result. Waitrose's latest results helps to stem the tide.
Mark Price, Waitrose managing director, said: "As a business owned by the people who work here, we can take the long-term view and our Christmas results show the effectiveness of our strategy of investing in good value, in making our shops attractive destinations and in building our online business."
For House of Fraser, the department store's chief executive John King explained that the results put the company in a strong position going into 2015. Mr King said he was "delighted" by the trading update adding that the firm would be looking to invest the money made into its online offering as well as refurbishing a number of its 59 stores across the UK and Ireland.
Retailers across the UK were boosted in the run-up to the Christmas period by an increase in shopping on the infamous Black Friday event, where many shops made significant discounts for one day only.
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