The Company of Master Jewellers, a buying group that represents 160 retail businesses with around 400 stores in the UK, has reported that only 29% of its members saw sales rise in December.
The group released the results of its annual survey this week, finding that 44% of members said sales were worse in December compared to the same month in 2016, 17% said they were the same and 29% said sales were better.
A resounding 98% of retailers observed that the Christmas rush, or their busiest week, didn’t happen until week commencing December 18, right up until closing time on Christmas Eve. Last minute spikes in store footfall were experienced on December 23-24 after online deliveries were no longer guaranteed.
Most retailers with an online store reported that sales were better than 2016 and several retailers noted that they were planning to get transactional websites up and running in 2018.
“Christmas sales were particularly poor this year. In mid December, we were 50% down which I attribute to a combination of severe weather (snow) and more sales going to Black Friday /Cyber Monday internet sales. Trading did improve slightly especially in the three days prior to Christmas, but we still finished the period down,” one unnamed retailer reported.