It’s been a day of contrasts as Next revealed gloomy Christmas trading results amid joyful tidings from other retailers.

Next’s 0.4% fall in full-price sales may not seem disastrous in isolation, but it was against weak comparatives and after a series of poor results the retailer was in need of a good Christmas.

The performance – and the prospect of a tough 2017 – was enough to make boss Lord Wolfson state that full-year profits will be at the lower end of expectations. 

The question on everyone’s lips now is whether its middle-market competitors – many of whom reveal Christmas trading figures next week – have suffered the same fate.

It is difficult to imagine the likes of M&S and Debenhams faring better than Next.

But it is worth bearing in mind that Next has lost at least some of its competitive edge.

In other news, shop prices fell once again in December but signs of inflation are beginning to show, Waitrose boss Rob Collins shared his New Year resolutions with us and B&M, The Fragrance Shop, Nisa and Mamas & Papas revealed strong Christmas trading.

Quote of the day

“Over the next six months we can expect the return of shop price inflation but as the battle for the wallet of the shopper is so intense. This will be phased in by retailers and any increases are likely to be less than other sectors of consumer spend as measured by the consumer price index.”

– Nielsen head of retail and business insight Mike Watkins

Today in numbers


Rise in sales at John Lewis in the week to December 24

Tomorrow’s agenda

Sports Direct shareholders will vote on the future of embattled chairman Keith Hellawell at an EGM

Becky Waller-Davies, fashion reporter