News roundup–better-than-expected Christmas for Next, more


Catalogue and web sales at Next for the 22 weeks
to 24th December were up 6.8 percent from the previous year, and
retail sales rose 4.6 percent. “Sales in the run-up to
Christmas were better than expected,” the company said in a
statement. As a result it has raised its full-year forecast of
profit before tax to £490 million-£500 million; in
November it had anticipated pretax profit of roughly £472
million.

Like-for-like sales at John Lewis for the five
weeks to 2nd January were up 12.7 percent from the previous year,
reports the Telegraph. What’s more, “On a two-year
basis like-for-like sales at the chain rose by 10.4 percent,
meaning that the high 2009 figure was not purely a result of a
dire Christmas in 2008.”

Shop Direct Group, the owner of
Woolworths, Littlewoods, and
Very, also had a good Christmas. Sales for the
six-week period to 1st January 2010 were up 6.3 percent on last
year and margin growth was “significantly ahead of sales
growth” as a result of less clearance activity.

Amazon.co.uk was the top-ranking UK website in a
survey of more than 10,000 online shoppers, according to Computer Weekly. In the survey, conducted by
ForeSee Results, Amazon received a customer satisfaction score of
83 percent. Debenhams was the most-improved
website, with a 16 percent jump in satisfaction ratings from the
previous year.

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