Christmas 2023: how did the retail sector shape up?

Was the latest Christmas season a success or failure for retailers?

by Éilis Cronin

At the end of 2023, we predicted that the Christmas season would be fraught with cautious spending; the cost of living crisis hit the UK hard in 2023 and many had to re-evaluate their Christmas shopping habits.

Early consumer data showed a preference towards the food and drink needed to make the festive meal special, with a specific focus on products from discounters over major supermarkets.
In non-food, there were signs that shoppers were steering clear of bigger ticket items, such as electronics, and instead buying items that tap into the self-care trend, such as mid-range candles, and a bigger focus on experiences rather than material goods.Now the decorations have come down and the mince pies finally polished off, major retailers are reflecting on their festive performance.

Supermarket performance

It should come as no surprise that Aldi and Lidl were Christmas winners; in the four weeks to Christmas, Lidl’s sales rose 12%, aided by an 11% sales boost from its Deluxe own-label range and sales of its Montaudon brut champagne doubling. Aldi’s sales rose by 8% in the same period, raking in more than £1.5bn for the first time. The retailer said its customers bought 42 million pigs in blankets and there was a 25% increase in the number of Specially Selected gammon joints bought for Christmas dinner.

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