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Shop 'til the needles drop

Stephen Fenton

31 December 2014

With all the hype of Black Friday and Cyber Monday in the run up to Christmas it is interesting to review what has really happened off and on the high street this holiday season. Burberry for instance has been bucking a dull trend elsewhere on the retail landscape.

On the big day

We aren't just tucking into turkey and lapping up the Queen's speech. A spokesperson for Experian said that "Retailers have been getting better at connecting with their customers and people are shopping online as a leisure activity.” "The shopping season now starts with Black Friday promotions and then online is ruling the roost right through to the middle of December”. Experian Hitwise analytics also recorded 147 million visits to retail websites actually on the 25th, a significant increase from 110 million on Christmas Day 2013.

Bargain hunting day

Evidence suggests that shoppers hitting highstreets on Boxing Day did so in larger numbers than many expected too. People spent nearly £3bn in the Boxing Day sales, according to The Independent. Even in advance The research by comparison website reported that shoppers were planning to spend £2.9bn on the first day of sales alone and market analysis Experian said that it was likely to be the "biggest and busiest ever" Boxing Day for online retailers, accounting for almost £500m of total sales.

Despite all the good news footfall levels have been down  7.1% on last year.

Strong sales at the top and bottom

Luxury fashion retailer Burberry has posted a 14% rise in sales over the Christmas period – up from £464million for the same period a year earlier. Revenue at the 158 year old retailer of £528million for its fiscal third quarter today compared to market expectations of £520million. Growing demand for luxury goods in China and online success has allowed Burberry to reverse the pattern of declining high street footfall noted above. Burberry has opened five new stores recently including two in China, a fourth in Mexico – plus it's first beauty store launch in Covent Garden.

Hargreaves Lansdown investment experts have commented that the group benefited as both bargain price and higher end retailers performed well over Christmas and the New Year, to the exclusion of the mid-market.

Proving again that the best place to be is at the top of the 'desire' game!

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