Next has this morning become the first of the big shops to report on their Xmas trading results.
It will be an interesting few weeks of reports to see whether consumerism will keep the country afloat or whether we are going to be consigned to the doldrums for 2012.
Anyway,it is a sort of good news and bad news for the clothing retailer which says that sales are down but was cheered by the strength of online trading.
Results for its sales from August up until Xmas eve saw sales down 2.7 per cent but it was buoyed by a 16.9 per cent rise at its online and catalogue Directory business.
The firm says its post-Christmas sale period has gone well with final clearance rates slightly ahead of 2010 and as for 2012,it says it is cautious,expecting “profit before tax only slightly up on this year.
Meanwhile retail chain John Lewis have reported like for like sales up 6.2 per cent in the 5 weeks to 31 December 2011.
Its online sales jumped 27.9 per cent year on year, breaking through the £600m barrier in the year to date with the department store’s click and collect service seeing a 90 per centincrease in usage.
The group though warns about the year ahead saying that 2012 will “undoubtedly be challenging”
Group MD Andy Street said: “Sales during the four weeks to Christmas Eve were outstanding." adding
“The first week of clearance saw a very strong start, but against the pre-VAT increase week in 2010, it was always going to be a challenge to match sales, particularly with ‘big ticket’ items.