Late spurt saves Christmas retail

A late spurt on the cusp of Christmas saved the festive season for hard-hit retailers. The Swedish Retail Institute (HUI) has forecast that sales will top last year's record.

“We are still forecasting a 2.5 percent increase in retail turnover to almost 61 billion kronor ($7.8 billion),” said HUI’s Lena Larsson.

“The calendar effect, with Christmas Eve falling on a Wednesday has boosted the whole retail sector.”

The analysis is backed up by retailers.

“Right up to the days before the Christmas holiday weekend we were a couple of percent behind last year’s record sales. But we experienced strong sales on the days before Christmas Eve so our figures will be almost in line with December last year,” said Joakim Forsell at retail firm Åhlensgruppen to news agency TT.

Toy giant Top-Toy, which owns the BR and Toys ‘R’ Us chains reported very weak sales during December up to the week before Christmas.

“The weekend before Christmas Eve and the days running up to Christmas Eve we had a great many people in our stores,” said Jan Nyberg, sales director at Top Toy.