Christmas was, as ever, a different experience for each retailer with performances across the industry varying widely.
This year’s Christmas league table from OC&C Strategy Consultants shows Game topped both online and store growth.
The retailer has had a difficult few years, with few big product releases and with online players stealing market share. In March 2012 it collapsed into administration before OpCapita purchased 333 stores in April that year.
Tom Gladstone, a partner at OC&C Strategy Consultants, says Game has done well to capitalise on two big launches in 2013 – the new XBox and Playstation consoles in 2013 gave the retailer an opportunity. “The story is more generally about the wider video games market,” he says.
But Game did take some steps to improve its fortunes. Its loyalty scheme has helped hook shoppers in, and Game worked hard with key suppliers to get good deals, Gladstone says. It has also done well to create a name for itself as being ‘by gamers, for gamers,’ he adds.
The success of the premium mass market is another clear theme. “Those who have a strong, clear, niche proposition that really resonates with the consumer are doing quite well. Many of these have been exploiting the fact that multichannel allows more of a targeted proposition to reach customers that they never used to reach that well.” Joules, Jigsaw and Fortnum & Mason all did well.
The final theme that emerges from the Christmas table is the difficult year the grocers are going to have. Aldi and Lidl are putting the big four under huge amounts of pressure, and Gladstone says: “Even Sainsbury’s, who are doing all things right, still found life pretty difficult. Grocery has always been tough but it really is a very difficult market.”
Morrisons is at the bottom of the league, with like for likes falling 5.6%. Chief executive Dalton Philips said earlier in January the performance was “disappointing” and blamed Morrisons’ lack of presence in convenience and online. Both of these operations are being ramped up in 2014.