Some of the UK’s leading high street names have been revealing their retail figures for the Christmas period so far this week, and though high street sales have been affected by the credit crunch, e-commerce is still a growth area for these companies.
Today, Next and Debenhams both reported a drop in their like-for-like sales for the period up to and including Christmas, and both reported a rise in online revenues.
For Next, its retail sales were down 3% from July to December, but Next Directory, its combined internet and mail order arm, increased sales in this period by 1.1%.
The success of Debenhams online was clearer from its interim statement; like-for-like sales for the 18 weeks up to January 3 were down by 3.5%, but online sales rose over the year. Year to date visitors numbers and sales on its website grew by 39.2% and 37.4% respectively, despite the website crashing during its pre-Xmas sale.
Yesterday, John Lewis reported that sales were flat in the five weeks to January, but didn’t mention a separate figure for online, though it did have its busiest ever hour online as its sale began on Christmas Eve. The company’s web sales were looking promising before Christmas though.
One definite online success story was pure-play etailer Play.com, which reported a 24% increase in like-for-like sales over the Christmas period.