High street suffers during Christmas trading

Dixons’ Star Wars advertising campaign has failed to lift sales over Christmas as a raft of high street retailers report a difficult trading period.

Dixons, Halfords and Home Retail Group, which owns Argos, have all reported falling sales as tough market conditions and snow impacted sales.

Dixons Retail, which owns PC World, Curry’s and Dixons.co.uk, reported a 2% fall in sales at stores open for more than a year for the 12 weeks to 8 January. The chain says its UK operations “performed well” despite the bad weather which hindered shoppers getting to its out of town stores.

The chain also suffered as its websites crashed on peak days in the run up to Christmas, which meant an estimated £15m lost sales, according to Matt Piner, senior retail analyst at Verdict.

Argos reported a 3.2% fall in sales in the 19 weeks to 1 January, blaming weak sales of jewellery, video gaming and televisions.

Sales at Halfords stores fell 6.6% in the 13 weeks to 1 January.

A number of retailers such as HMV and Next have blamed the snow and bad weather before Christmas for lacklustre sales.

The supermarkets and department stores have fared better as Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and John Lewis reported sales increases during the festive period.

Tesco, however, reported a 0.6% fall in sales.

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