The essential pre-Christmas buying and selling interval for retailers was disrupted in 2020 by stop-start coronavirus restrictions, which pressured outlets promoting non-essential gadgets to shut their doorways for sure durations of time, following months of shutdown earlier within the yr.
Because the nation stayed at residence, buyers purchased leisurewear however general fewer gadgets of clothes, knocking sales at fashion retailers. In the meantime, the large supermarkets benefited from their important retailer standing, as customers spent extra money on groceries as a substitute of in eating places, cafes and pubs.
Sainsbury’s – Winner
The UK’s second-largest grocery store reported a 9% rise in like-for-like gross sales in the course of the Christmas interval, from 1 November to the beginning of January, as buyers crammed their baskets with luxurious gadgets together with champagne and steak.
Sainsbury’s on-line gross sales additionally boomed over the festive interval, growing by 128% to account for nearly a fifth (18%) of complete gross sales, permitting the retailer to boost its revenue expectations for 2020 by £60m.
Nonetheless, doing enterprise in a pandemic additionally comes at a value and, because of this, Sainsbury’s forecasts that its 2020 earnings can be 44% decrease than the interval yr. The chain has additionally pledged to pay again the £410m enterprise charges aid which it was given by the federal government final spring.
Morrisons – Winner
Luxurious festive treats additionally helped drive Morrisons gross sales 8.5% larger in the course of the festive interval, as buyers splashed out on champagne and salmon to get pleasure from at residence.
Morrisons mentioned on-line gross sales had tripled, and it additionally benefited from its cope with Amazon to provide wholesale merchandise to comfort shops.
The grocery store was the one one of many 4 largest chains within the UK to achieve market share over the Christmas interval, in accordance with evaluation from analysis group Kantar, thanks to cost cuts and a rise in residence deliveries.
Nonetheless, the retailer expects its profits to be in line with expectations, lower than half the £420m to £440m it had as soon as anticipated, after it agreed to pay again £230m obtained from the federal government’s enterprise charges aid.
B&M – Winner
The fast-growing discount retailer loved robust gross sales within the run-up to Christmas, topping off a knockout yr. B&M mentioned gross sales in its UK shops soared by 21% within the three months as much as Boxing Day, regardless of not promoting something on-line.
The chain, which provides every little thing from tinned items and pet meals to wallpaper and backyard sheds, has benefited from its important retailer standing. As well as, a lot of its shops are positioned on retail parks, which cautious buyers have tended to favour as a substitute of excessive streets.
B&M’s house owners, the billionaire Arora brothers, awarded themselves a £30m payout following hovering Christmas gross sales, pushing their complete dividends obtained during the last 12 months to nearly £100m.
Because of the lockdown sales boom, B&M intends to speak in confidence to 45 new shops by March, a 3rd greater than it had beforehand deliberate.
JD Sports activities – Winner
JD Sports, Britain’s greatest sportswear group, has been capable of shrug off most of the issues confronted by retailers in the course of the pandemic, and hiked its revenue forecasts following sturdy buying and selling.
The retail chain reported that its complete revenues for the previous 22 weeks of 2020 have been 5% larger than the earlier yr, main it to forecast earnings for the final yr of at the very least £400m, nicely above analysts’ expectations of £295m.
JD mentioned that its clients had “readily switched between bodily and digital channels” however warned that Covid restrictions have been prone to hold its UK shops closed till Easter.
The informal put on group, which additionally owns manufacturers Measurement?, Blacks Leisure, Millets and Go Outside, mentioned earlier within the pandemic that its athleisure products had proved popular with clients caught at residence.
The sportswear chain had been in rescue talks to buy beleaguered department store chain Debenhams, however pulled out when Topshop-owner Arcadia went into administration on the finish of November.
Marks & Spencer – Loser
Christmas buying and selling was a blended image at excessive avenue stalwart Marks & Spencer, as retailer closures knocked its gross sales of clothes and homeware, whereas its meals halls fared higher throughout the important thing interval.
Gross sales of clothes and homeware dropped by a quarter in the course of the 13 weeks to 26 December, as customers turned to pyjamas fairly than get together outfits, with a close to halving of in-store gross sales solely partly balanced out by an increase in on-line gross sales.
The retailer’s meals halls traded extra positively, with a 2.6% rise in gross sales at shops open for at the very least one yr, though it suffered from the closure of its giant community of in-store cafes.
M&S warned that the buying and selling outlook “stays very difficult” as a result of the most recent lockdown and retailer closures might final till Easter.
Greggs – Loser
Covid heralded a reversal in fortunes for Greggs bakery chain, well-known for its steak bakes and vegan sausage rolls, which predicted it’s going to droop to its first-ever annual loss on account of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Newcastle-based chain’s gross sales dropped by greater than £300m yr on yr in 2020, main it to forecast a £15m annual loss, its first since itemizing on the inventory market in 1984, after Covid restrictions closed its shops and customers made lunch at residence fairly than shopping for a sandwich whereas out and about.
Greggs, which has greater than 2,000 shops within the UK, doesn’t anticipate earnings to get better to pre-Covid ranges till 2022. Nonetheless, the retailer’s enlargement plans stay on observe and it plans to open an additional 100 shops this yr.