Analysis: How retail confounded the doom and gloom to achieve a very merry Christmas

Christmas tree with shops and shoppers in background

As soon as retailers’ Christmas updates started coming in, it was clear that something unexpected had happened – the festive season had been better than anticipated for many

Despite the cost-of-living crisis and the higher price of doing business, as well as the war in Ukraine and political upheaval at home hitting shopper sentiment, many retailers exceeded downbeat expectations to post strong trading and even profit upgrades.

Here we unpick what contributed to a Christmas far happier for retail than anticipated, from consumers’ determination to enjoy the holiday after years of disruption to retailers’ ability to up their game by delivering value for money or omnichannel prowess.

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