Christmas 2008: The winners step forward

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Play.com says it is beating the credit crunch with a 24% jump in sales during the Christmas period compared with last year. “I’m very happy with this performance and I think we can continue to grow for the next four or five years,” says chief operating officer Stuart Rowe. “Staying in is the new going out, and people are spending a lot more time at home… This year will be tough but in the medium to long term we are positive.” Sales of the film Mamma Mia! and of Take That’s album The Circus were major revenue drivers for the four months until the end of December, the company says.

In an Interim Mangement Statement from Debenhams, published today, the retailer has revealed strong growth online. “Debenhams Direct, the online business, continued to grow strongly with year-to-date visitor numbers and sales up 39.2% and 37.4% respectively,” says the statement.

Amazon.com, meanwhile, has refused to reveal specific trading numbers but says it enjoyed its best-ever holiday sales this year — despite overall online spending falling in the US. More than 6.3 million items were ordered worldwide on Monday 15 December, its peak day.

There’s positive news from independent online retailers, too. Ecommerce supplier Actinic says a survey of small- and medium-sized businesses selling online found respondents reporting an average sales increase of 48% by value and 43% by volume during November and December. “This is the sixth poll we’ve conducted and the survey results confirm analysts’ pre-Christmas expectations that the percentage growth in online shopping would once again far exceed growth in high street sales,” says Actinic managing director Nick Kington.

• Were your sales significantly up on Christmas 2008? Are you bursting to tell the world about your success? If so, let us know by adding a comment below — we’re dedicating this article’s comments area to a “Xmas 2008 Boast Space”. Tell us how you did — and, if you can, how you think you did it. We’re all dying to hear all about it…

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