Anybody reading today’s retail updates and coverage might think they’re in a different retail world to the one that existed yesterday.

Anybody reading today’s retail updates and coverage might think they’re in a different retail world to the one that existed yesterday.

A profits upgrade at Argos, rocketing sales both at etailer Asos and stores-only giant Primark, soaring like-for-likes at Dixons.

What a contrast to the tales of woe that have characterised much of the last week as first Jessops, then HMV, then Blockbuster crashed and burned.

Such high-profile business failures cast a pall over the whole retail industry and prompted much hand-wringing about the ‘death of the high street’.

Retail failures and the likely job losses are sad news for the thousands of staff affected and their loyal customers but, as so many updates have shown, plenty of retailers are thriving, or certainly surviving, despite what most would acknowledge remain tough trading conditions.

The story behind the collapses is not that retail is in crisis, but that in particular categories – pretty much anything that can be digitalised, such as music and film – transformation wrought by new technology mean that some big store chains are no longer in tune with, or structured to cater for, changing consumer habits and preferences.

The way people buy is of course changing too, as the steep spike in online sales over Christmas showed. But many retailers – ranging from John Lewis to Next to Argos - have shown they can adapt too by the increasing adoption of multichannel models, although the journey remains unfinished.

As they’ve updated, most chief executives have understandably struck a cautious tone about prospects for the year to come.

Factors such as rising food inflation look likely to add to the continued pressure on shoppers’ spending power and confidence remains fragile.

In some cases, solid Christmas performance represents primarily a comeback after the GBH suffered at the low points of recession and downturn.

Bu there are plenty of unalloyed success stories too, which are increasingly being exported into new international markets.

Asos’s impressive 34% growth in the UK was topped by a 47% leap overseas, while Primark, which already has shops in countries including Spain and Germany, now has its sights set on France.

Compared to the halcyon days of the boom years, retail may not be in the rudest health ever. But reports of its death are exaggerated.