Casualwear cataloguer MandMDirect.com boasts of
“astonishing Christmas retail figures” in a press release. Despite the hyperbole, the
figures were impressive: Year-on-year sales for the nine weeks
ended 30th December were up 29 per cent, while web sales rose 51
Online sales for Tesco hit £190 million for the six weeks
ended 5th January, a year-on-year rise of 24 per cent.
Nonetheless, the retail giant’s overall Christmas sales fell
short of expectations, rising only 3.1 per cent (excluding
petrol), rather than the anticipated 3.8-4.5 per cent. “The
fact that even the mighty Tesco struggled to have a bumper
Christmas highlights just how tough things were out there,”
The Telegraph declared.
Despite eCommerce being one of the bright spots of the Christmas
selling season and disappointing numbers coming from some
high-street retailers, BBC News is reporting that “many UK department
stores are enjoying something of a renaissance”. Why?
Stores such as Selfridges and House of Fraser have invested in
upgrading their merchandise selection, their presentation and
their service, plus as one analyst said, “Visiting a
department store is becoming more of a leisure experience”.