Sales in December were up 1.5% compared with a year earlier, while like-for-like sales rose 0.3% (excluding new store openings). Without a 17.8% jump in online non-food sales, total sales would have fallen. However, online retail was still only a small proportion of total sales, accounting for a little over 10%.
Department stores also performed well over Christmas. Debenhams has reported record sales in December, while House of Fraser posted its “highest ever” festive sales. John Lewis also reported a sharp rise in Christmas sales.
Official figures for retail sales in December will be released on 18 January.