Mobile shopping, or m-commerce, activity grew significantly for many retailers in the UK, according to JLL’s Christmas trading results.
Jigsaw saw mobile sales rise by +115 percent while John Lewis (+31 percent), Very.co.uk (+32 percent) and Made.com (+122 percent) also registered robust m-commerce growth. White Stuff, N Brown and Debenhams also reported strong sales through mobile devices.
“Overall, online sales were the clear winner, and retailers that provide customers with an integrated, seamless offer continue to benefit from real competitive advantage,” said Jonathan Bayfield, senior research analyst in JLL’s European retail team.
“It is clear that the some of the Christmas winners were retailers like House of Fraser, Fortnum & Mason and John Lewis, who have embraced technology and provide a seamless multi-channel retail offer, combining the best of both the physical and the virtual worlds.
“Leading department store group, House of Fraser, which has invested heavily in its website, and also the flagship store on Oxford Street in the last 18 months, reported a record Christmas.”
Counting both online and high street sales, 80 percent of UK retailers registered growth, with 50 percent recording numbers up by 4 percent year on year*.
Conditions remain challenging in some corners of the market, however.
Discount stores Poundland, Primark, Sports Direct, B&M and Bonmarché announced disappointing results. This is, in part, due to their limited online presence and declining footfall across UK high streets, as well as competition from other discount retailers.
Bayfield added: “In the grocery sector the discounters were the frontrunners, with Lidl and Aldi growing market share.
“But Tesco, Morrisons and Sainsbury’s are fighting back and all revealed results ahead of expectations.”
Meanwhile, Black Friday sales appear to have permanently altered the pattern of Christmas trading, which now begins in November. Shoppers rushed to take advantage of dramatic discounts ushered in by the American retail phenomenon and, last year, British brands recorded sales in excess of £2 billion during this period.
Despite a slightly unpredictable Christmas, consumer recovery ‘appears to have taken hold’, said Colin Burnet, director, European retail research and consulting, JLL.
He added: “Consumers have money to spend, as a result of cheaper fuel, deflation and rising employment and wages, and 2016 should see strong sales growth for UK Retail. The key for retailers is to continue to invest in providing consumers with seamless retailing experiences, while cleverly managing costs at the same time.”
*Like for like (LFL) sales
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Director - EMEA Retail Research