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FACTBOX-How did UK retailers fare over coronavirus-hit Christmas?

Jan 6 (Reuters) - The 2020 Christmas holiday season presented British retailers with a unique challenge as they navigated strict COVID-19 containment measures while preparing for Britain’s departure from the European Union.

The UK is struggling to contain a new, fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus while coming to terms with an end to the Brexit saga.

As a new national lockdown begins while coronavirus vaccines are rolled out, here is how some of Britain’s retailers are faring:

GREGGS

The British baker and fast food retailer has slowed the sales decline caused by the coronavirus crisis but does not expect profits to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2022 at the earliest.

TOPPS TILES

The tile retailer warned that the new lockdown in England, which has shut the company’s stores for browsing, is expected to hit sales and margins.

MORRISONS

Strong sales of champagne and whole salmon helped the supermarket group outpace bigger rivals over Christmas as Britons made up for pandemic-related restrictions on pubs and restaurants by treating themselves at home.

NEXT

The British fashion retailer soundly beat its forecast for Christmas sales despite COVID-19 restrictions closing stores in November and the final shopping days of December, resulting in another upgrade to underlying profit guidance.

ALDI

The British arm of the German discount supermarket group said sales rose 10.6% year on year in the four weeks to Dec. 24, with a spike in demand for premium products helping to deliver a record Christmas performance.

ASSOCIATED BRITISH FOODS

The owner of Primark said that tougher lockdown measures in Britain and Ireland would result in an estimated sales loss of 650 million pounds ($887.7 million) this financial year, up from its previous estimate of 430 million pounds. ($1 = 0.7322 pounds)

Compiled by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru Editing by David Goodman

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