The grocery market outperformed non-food retail during the festive period as independent convenience store owners increased their annual like-for-like sales by more than 15%.

Ten out of 10 independent retailers surveyed by RN reported a sales growth between December and January. 

Joe Williams, of Spar the Village Store in Hook Norton, told RN his store made a day’s worth of sales in six hours on 26 December. “Boxing Day sales were up 15% compared with last year,” he said. 

“Our biggest growth came from fresh produce during the day, and we saw a 20% sales increase compared with the previous year.

“Sales were more stable throughout the majority of December, but this is good, as we would probably have seen decline throughout the month in previous years. 

Retailer Bay Bashir reported 300% sales increases on Christmas Day at four of his five Go Local stores in Middlesbrough. “We were open from 8am to 10pm and it was the best trading day of the year,” he said.

Although like-for-like sales growth across the grocery market slowed during the 12 weeks to 29 December, the majority of multiples had experienced year-on-year growth. 

Lidl led the way with a 13.6% increase, followed by Aldi (11.7%), Iceland (3.5%), Co-op (2.6%), Asda (0.8%), and Tesco and Marks & Spencer (0.4%). 

The multiples that experienced a decline in the same period were Waitrose (-1%), Sainsbury’s (-0.6%) and Morrisons (-0.1%). 

Meanwhile, Booker and Morrisons saw growth in their wholesale businesses. Booker’s like-for-like sales for the 19 weeks up to 5 January grew by 9.6%. 

In comparison, Morrisons’ wholesale business, which includes its partnership with Amazon, grew by 3% in the nine weeks up to 6 January.

Elsewhere, John Lewis warned of “substantially lower” profits in its next trading update, while Debenhams’ like-for-like sales for the 18 weeks up to 5 January fell 6.2%. 

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