Morleys has hailed an increase in sales during the crucial festive trading period as “record” Christmas Eve sales drove performance.
The department store business posted a 2.3% increase in like for likes during the six weeks to January 5. That equated to a £400,000 uptick in revenues.
Across the shorter three-week period, like-for-like sales jumped 5.1% year on year.
Morleys said “all-time record” sales on Christmas Eve fuelled the sales growth.
The retailer’s boss David Hordle told Retail Week that fashion, menswear, gifts and toys performed strongly during the period.
Hordle added that sales of homewares and soft furnishings enjoyed 6% growth in December, having performed sluggishly during the first half of the year.
Hordle insisted that Morleys outperformed the wider department store sector during the period due to its focus on local customers across its eight stores.
He said: “As an independent, privately owned business we can be a bit more agile to respond to what our local customers are looking for. We can’t afford to offer a one-size fits approach across a big chain of stores.
“It’s that agility which means we can be a little bit more fleet of foot than some of our competitors. We cannot be complacent and we’re not [complacent] about the fact that we have a very local customer base.
“Those stores, and the names of those stores, aren’t known much beyond where people live. We’re not trying to be a nationwide brand, we’ve retained the names of the brands we’ve acquired – private, family-owned businesses.”
Hordle added that Morleys has been conducting a “piece of work” with consultants as it mulls a move online. But he insisted the business would continue to trade solely from its bricks-and-mortar stores for the foreseeable future.