Christmas retail trading statements have started to come thick and fast both from large retailers, such as Marks & Spencer (LON: MKS), and smaller retailers including AIM-quoted Joules (LON: JOUL). There are still plenty of significant trading statements to come from AIM-quoted retailers, particularly the online-focused ones.
Fashion retailer Joules has shown that its online sales growth has helped to offset the loss of high street sales. Between 15 November and 3 January there was a 0.3% rise in retail sales. Online sales grew 66% and high street sales fell 58%. There has been a downgrade in expected full year pre-tax profit from £5.4m to £3.5m.
Online retailer boohoo (LON: BOO) is set to update investors on its trading this week. The boohoo share price has been hit by bad publicity in the second half of 2020 and their performance contrasts with the strength of AIM during the period.
Trading has been going well, though. There were multiple upgrades last year and the growth rate remains impressive. Lockdowns remove high street competitors so even if fewer clothes are bought more will be bought online. Sales are expected to be 35% ahead in the four months to December 2020.
Regaining investor and consumer confidence is likely to be a long road. The brands do not seem to have been too badly hurt, but there will be some ongoing concern.
Rival online fashion retailer ASOS (LON: ASC) should report trading at around the same time. Retail sales are expected to grow by at least 15% over the same period as boohoo. If online trading was particularly good prior to Christmas, then the growth could be faster.
ASOS continues to build up consumer awareness in the US. The growth in the active consumer base will be an important measure for the US.
Online wine retailer Naked Wine (LON: WINE) is also due to report its Christmas trading. Second half sales are expected to be 37% ahead. Naked Wine has been a major beneficiary of the lockdowns in the past year.