The starting gun has well and truly been fired on the battle for the most popular Christmas ad.

While the biggest hitter in town – John Lewis - has yet to drop, House of Fraser, Argos and today unleashed their festive offerings.

Each year the battle to come up with an idea that’s different enough to capture the imagination, but still has mainstream appeal, becomes more fierce.

The ads are also an interesting snapshot of how retailers see themselves and the market they are aiming at. 

Argos, now part of grocery giant Sainsbury’s, has already set the bar high. Its kaleidoscopic offering featuring ice-skating yetis will no doubt set tongues wagging.

My favourite so far though is’s wry, low-key offering with a twist of elves.

Elsewhere today, we reveal B&Q’s new store format and plans for one-hour click-and-collect, the BHS pensions saga rumbles on and Furniture Village report an impressive rise in full-year profits

Quote of the day

“We understand Christmas can give the feeling of trepidation but we want to encourage our customers to truly embrace their shopping experience this year”

House of Fraser boss Nigel Oddy on its Christmas ad

Today in numbers

The average amount that shoppers are expected to spend each on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Rise in full-year EBITDA at Furniture Village

Next week’s agenda

A busy week as M&S updates with Steve Rowe expected to reveal results of a property review, Sainsbury’s, Halfords and Burberry interims, SuperGroup results, Primark’s full-year figures and Singles Day in China. 

James Wilmore, news editor