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Now Boots celebrates a strong Xmas, defying gloom talk

Boots hailed a ‘very strong Christmas’ as it revealed that retail sales jumped by around 15% in December (Matt Crossick/PA) (PA Archive)
Boots hailed a ‘very strong Christmas’ as it revealed that retail sales jumped by around 15% in December (Matt Crossick/PA) (PA Archive)

BOOTS joined the Christmas retail party today, becoming the latest high street name to defy expectations that hard-up Brits would play Scrooge over the festive period.

Next and Greggs already reported that they had done well.

This afternoon Boots says UK sales were up 8.7% in the last quarter a year ago – a strong point of comparison.

The chemist put the strong figures down to a record-breaking Black Friday and a focus on value.

Many analysts thought shoppers would constrain spending in the face of high energy bills and talk of an inevitable recession.

Some still say the strong retail sales are a blip, a final blow out, before households impose austerity on their spending.

Seb James, the former Dixons Carphone man who is now Managing Director of Boots UK & ROI, said: “It has been another positive quarter for Boots. Our focus on giving customers our best ever value to help with cost of living pressures, as well as continued investment in our digital capability and in updating our store estate, has resulted in increased retail sales and market share growth for the seventh consecutive quarter. Our Black Friday and Christmas performance was particularly pleasing.”

Other firms to report record Christmas sales include Aldi, which saw revenues up 26% to £1.4 billion in December.

Aldi and its arch rival Lidl were expected to do well as customers sought out bargains however. The performance of Boots and Next has come as more of a surprise.

Figures due soon from the other supermarkets might put a different gloss on the economic situation, however.