Christmas cheer?

The OC&C Christmas Trading Index 2011

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Christmas trading results this year generated some positive headlines suggesting better than expected performance – but the actual like-for-like out-turn for UK retail was negative (particularly taking account of the full trading period in the lead up to Christmas rather than just December). 

This is against weak comparatives from a really poor trading period in 2010 that was significantly disrupted by snow. In practice, even to achieve this performance many retailers needed to discount significantly to drive sales – and the level of promotion and pre-Christmas discounting was at a record high. It was yet another demonstration that consumer confidence remains extremely fragile and retailers are needing to work extremely hard to drive sales in this environment. A key feature of Christmas this year was the consumer leaving it late before shopping – with retailers needing to cut prices to encourage consumers into spending. 

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