Retail news round-up on December 23, 2015: Retailers in significant financial distress up 2% on last year and John Lewis weekly sales up 7%.

Number of retailers in financial distress up 2% on last year

The number of British retailers in ‘significant’ financial distress has increased 2% year on year to 24,737 in the final quarter of the year.

Grocers have been the most hurt, with the number in significant financial hardship leaping 11% to 4,226 in the fourth quarter, according to Begbies Traynor.

This was owing to the fierce supermarket price war and customers leaving this year's Christmas shopping until the last minute.

Begbies Traynor partner Julie Palmer said: "This year there has been more discounting than ever before from retailers in the run-up to Christmas, as Black Friday deals extended into more severe festive promotions to try and boost lacklustre sales volumes.

"Unfortunately the swathes of cut-price deals seem to have had little effect, with levels of financial distress among retailers even higher than last year's shocking statistics."

John Lewis reports 7% rise in weekly department store sales

John Lewis recorded a 7% year-on-year surge in its weekly sales, thanks to a 30.3% jump in its online sales.

Sales at the department store chain totalled £171.8m in the week to December 19.

Sales in the electricals and home technology department increased 16.2%, while home division sales rose 5.1% during the period.

Fashion sales were up 1.9% in spite of mild weather, which pulled down the sales of cold weather clothing.

"Customers clearly want to keep shopping right through to Christmas Eve, and with the final few shopping days left we are expecting our shops to be incredibly busy as people are off work," said boss Andy Street.