Be bold to grow and sell across all platforms

Firstly, it seems those businesses that operate online attracted more customers than ever before. Sales on websites in December were up 17.8% compared with a year earlier. After all, why head out to the cold high street and queue in the Christmas chaos with hundreds of other stressed shoppers, when you could buy what you need at home, on your laptop, with a cup of tea?

In fact customers don't even need to use their laptop. The businesses that have websites which are compatible across all digital platforms were able to capitalise on the festive period.

"Many retailers have invested a lot in making their websites easier to use across devices and also increasing confidence in their online security... the surging popularity of tablets and smartphones giving even better access is a major factor (in increasing online sales)" said Helen Dickinson of the British Retail Consortium. "For the more established retailers, it seems that much of the growth is now coming from online orders, while shop sales are stagnant at best."

Not all the success was just online. The other big winners of the Christmas period were the department stores. Debenhams and House of Fraser toasted the New Year with record sales in December.

Department stores attract customers at Christmas because they sell a variety of products under one roof. Customers want ease during Christmas shopping and the option of buying everything in one go is appealing.

John Lewis was another department store that benefitted massively over the festive period. The retal giant had three strings to its bow. A department store, a good website offering an excellent click and collect service, plus an expensive and much talked about advertising campaign.

Last but not least our final winner of the Christmas period was good ol' Sainsbury's. The supermarket reported a 3% increase in sales in the 14 weeks to January when compared to the same time last year. This means Sainsbury's were the only one of the 'big four' supermarket groups to increase its market share over the Christmas period. Why? Because it's been bolder than the others. At a time when its rivals are trying to tick over, Sainsbury's have taken the risk to try and grow, opening six new supermarkets and 19 new convenience stores.  A gamble that so far, seems to be paying off.



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