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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Weekly Retail & Leisure News - 11​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​ January, 2016

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​​Department stores amongst early Christmas trading winners

House of Fraser and John Lewis are amongst those retailers to have reported robust Christmas sales growth in the past week. Both department stores benefitted from recent investment in their online and physical offers. John Lewis used its multi-channel strength to reach more consumers; Click & Collect sales were up 16% as half of all online orders used this delivery method. For House of Fraser, in the seven days to Christmas, online sales rose by nearly 62% and store sales were up 2%. By contrast, M&S apportioned disappointing General Merchandise sales on unseasonal weather and availability problems. Next also blamed the weather for its performance this Christmas, the retailer’s overall sales edged up 0.4%, as the retailer’s online and catalogue business saw “disappointing” growth of 2%.

Last week, it was also revealed that Sainsbury’s made a bid for the Home Retail Group last year. The grocer has until February 2 to make a firm offer for Argos and Homebase’s parent company. If the groups combine there is a clear potential to make significant savings by consolidating the real estate portfolios; Argos concessions are already being trialled in superstores. Sainsbury’s could also benefit from the investment that Argos has made in its online distribution and logistics network.

Looking forward, JLL launched its 2016 Property Predictions last week. In the retail sector, three main predictions were highlighted; first, 2016 could be the year that the term ‘omni-channel’ becomes obsolete, as consumers now simply view it as ‘commerce’. Second, a broadening of retailer demand for physical space is predicted, not least from e-tailers, and finally an increase in polarity between prime and secondary retail yields is forecast for the year.

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