Retailers have been counting the cost of the snow in the run-up to Christmas which not only disrupted supply chains but also kept shoppers at home.
Next has estimated that it lost £22m of full price sales as a result of the snow – some 2.2 per cent of the season’s total sales.
However, it said, retail sales were also affected by limited stock availability on best-selling lines in the run up to Christmas.
Overall, Next’s retail sales were down 3.1 per cent while the Next Directory finished the season up 8.7 per cent.
The Next Directory benefited from the bad weather initially with people ordering from home rather than braving the bad weather. However, in the immediate run up to Christmas the fear of failed deliveries reduced demand.
“Overall we believe the effect of weather on Directory was neutral,” the group said.
HMV also said its sales had been hit by the bad weather, but it is also struggling with the underlying weakness of its core entertainment markets.
For the ten weeks to 1st January, it reported a 12.1 per cent fall in total sales on 2009 while the figure for Waterstones was 2.1 per cent.
At Waterstone’s, improved like for like sales reflects the success of the turnaround actions implemented during 2010 and improved stock availabilities from the book hub, it said.
“We are taking aggressive action as we continue to tightly manage our cost base. We expect to exit around 60 stores across our UK businesses over the next 12 months as we seek to re-shape our store portfolio. In addition, we have identified a further £10m per annum of cost savings from across the group.”