Christmas sales bigger than Black Friday

Photo by Heidi Fin on Unsplash

Christmas sales bigger than Black Friday

Good news for retailers and traditionalists alike this week as the latest figures reveal that Christmas sales trounced Black Friday during the last quarter of 2016. According to the latest figures, like-for-like sales have risen 1% year-on-year and the food sales sector reported the highest three-month average in over three years. Could this signal better times ahead for 2017?

Latest Sales Figures

Hot off the press, the figures published in the latest BRC-KPMG Retail Sales Monitor report that the total amount of retails sales climbed to 1.7% during the five weeks up to December 31st, when compared to the same month in 2015. According to BRC-KPMG the majority of growth happened in the week directly before Christmas – which proved to be an even bigger sales period than Black Friday – in contrast to 2015 where Black Friday saw the most sales prior to Christmas.

During the whole three month period leading to the 31st December, revenue from food sales increased by 1.1% on a like-for-like basis and 2.4% on a total sales basis. Heralding good news for grocery retailers as the figures marked the highest three-month average growth in total food sales in well over three years.

And it wasn’t just the food sector experiencing a seasonal boost. Non-food like-for-like sales also rose 1.1% across the three month pre-Christmas period up to New Year’s Eve, with the total amount of sales up 1.3% overall. However, according to Retail Week, this represented the lowest three-month average growth in total non-food sales since October 2012.

A Steady Market

Speaking to Retail Week, Paul Martin, Head of Retail at KPMG UK suggested that this could be a sign of a steady market, rather than exponential growth:

“These are some of the first signs that the market is not slowing down but starting to show signs of maturity where double digit growth rates are not going to be possible every month across every category anymore.

”The 2015 Christmas period was the big bad year for the grocers and this festive period is where they have recovered, meaning it’s easier to post positive comparables. This wasn’t the case for non-food so its more difficult to deliver those barnstorming numbers.”

Helen Dickinson, BRC Chief Executive echoed this positive message:

“December is the most important trading period of the year and with sales across 2016 growing more slowly than the previous year, it was all to play for in the final month.

“Despite the slow start to the Christmas trading period, the week itself was a bumper one and exceeded expectations.

“It delivered the majority of sales growth for the month, proving even bigger than the Black Friday period – which is the reverse of what we saw the year before.”

So, a positive start to the year for retailers, in increasingly uncertain times – here’s to a happy new year for all of our customers and long may it continue!

Image credit: By Daniel Hughes (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons.