Which retailers got an iPhone X for Christmas, and which ones got a lump of coal?

Sainsbury's: its Christmas ad was a Turkey of the Week but sales held up
Sainsbury's: its Christmas ad was a Turkey of the Week but sales held up

The Christmas sales period is crunch time for retailers: how did the big players get on?


Tesco’s food sales did well, with total food up 3.4% in the six weeks to 6 January, and fresh food up 3.7%. Chief executive Dave Lewis was particularly keen to talk up fresh salmon from the fish counter, sales of which boomed 23%. But a decline in general merchandise took some wind out of Tesco’s sales, and it was also hit badly by the demise of wholesaler Palmer & Harvey. Read more

John Lewis

Thing were looking good at John Lewis, where like-for-like sales were up 3.1%, despite a competitive environment. Managing director Paula Nickolds was left bemoaning Black Friday, forcing the retailer to slash prices to match the competition, even though it delivered the biggest day of sales in the brand’s history. Read more

Marks & Spencer

The unrelenting downward slide of Marks & Spencer’s clothing and home business continued in the last three months of the year – while the usually buoyant sales of the food division also fell. But chief executive Steve Rowe said that following a poor October, both online and store sales started to pick up after the debut of the brand’s popular ad campaign starring everyone’s favourite Peruvian bear. Read more


After announcing it had surpassed sales of £10bn for the first time in 2017, the discounter flaunted its ever growing wealth by announcing a pay rise for store staff and plans for another 76 stores. Speaking to Campaign, marketing director Adam Zavalis credited the brand’s marketing campaign with maintaining excitement throughout December. Read more


Debenhams said its fairy tale romance-themed campaign had resonated with the public, despite what was on the whole a disappointing performance. Like-for-like sales were down 2.7% in the last 17 weeks of the year, though they did pick up to grow 1.2% across the last six weeks. Read more


Sainsbury’s upped its profit forecast, but like Tesco, its performance in the festive season was a mixed bag. Total sales were up 1.2% in the three months to 6 January, with grocery sales up 2.3% – but along with Tesco, Morrisons and Asda, it lost market share to the discounters. General merchandise sales, meanwhile, were down, thanks to dozens of Argos outlets in Homebase stores being closed - though chief executive Mike Coupe said Argos had grown its market share.


The deal struck by Morrisons to supply convenience store McColl’s helped Morrisons grow like-for-like sales 3.7% in the six weeks to 7 January. Analyst Bruno Monteyne told the Financial Times the supermarket had benefitted from better availability and booming sales of its premium "Best" range.


Bucking expectations of a sales decline, Next actually grew sales 1.5% over the period from 1 November to Christmas Eve. Chief executive Simon Wolfson said the bitterly cold weather seen in much of the UK in December meant many shoppers were buying cold weather gear for the first time in several years.

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