Retailers have been issuing Christmas trading updates. Department store group Kohl’s reported total sales for the five weeks ended January 1 up 5.9% to $3.19bn (£2.05bn) over the comparable period the previous year. On a like-for-like sales basis, December sales increased 3.9%.

Clothing retailer Limited Brands reported like-for-like sales up 5% for the same period.

Department store retailer JC Penney yesterday reported its like-for-like sales for the same period jumped 3.7%.

Gap said like-for-like sales fell by 3% in the period, while net sales were flat at $2bn (£1.29bn) compared year on year. In the North America division, like-for-likes at Gap fell 8%, while Old Navy dropped 2%. Banana Republic reported like-for-like sales up by 1%. Gap’s international sales were down by 4%.

Barnes & Noble has reported strong sales for the nine-week holiday period ending January 1. Store sales increased 8.2% over the previous year to $1.1bn (£708m), with like-for-like sales increasing 9.7%.