Resilient Booths shows “northern grit” in challenging retail market

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Northwest food and drink retailer Booths delivered resilient Christmas sales. Overall sales were up +5.9% with like-for-like sales down -1.4% over the Christmas trading period*, the retailer reports. Sales held up well against the backdrop of a challenging retail market and unprecedented widespread flooding across Booths’ Northern heartland, which affected stores, staff and sales. The Booths store in Keswick was badly hit by flooding in early December, but the team opened a pop-up essentials shop before Christmas to support the local community.

The retailer saw a sharp rise in Christmas home delivery orders, up 54% nationwide and overall orders, including click and collect in store orders rose by 11%.

CEO Chris Dee said: “There’s much to be proud of at Booths this Christmas, and I’m not just talking about the financials, our people have excelled. Our teams worked with typical Northern grit to cope with the twin demands of a challenging retail climate and devastating weather conditions.”

“The Booths culture comes into its own in times of need and we managed trade well, keep stores open with good availability, successfully deliver our offer nationwide and support staff, customers and communities affected by the severe weather.

“The rise in demand nationwide for a Booths Christmas is particularly gratifying, confirming that Booths is a trusted brand with significant appeal outside our region. Quality is core to the Booths offer and we have the advantage and privilege to work with some of the best farmers and food producers in the country.”

Given Booths commitment to provenance, it comes as no surprise that sales of meat and game gained strong uplift; meat sales were up 33%, turkeys were up by 12% and Christmas trimmings rose by 55%. Game box sales, widely featured in the artfully produced Booths Christmas book, rose by a staggering 649%, giving an indication that customers were shopping with Booths for something unique and special. This trend was also supported by licenced sales, where sales of craft beer rose by 7% and sales of Booths own label wines rose by 42%, buoyed by the introduction of the Booths Prosecco Magnum.

“People expect the best from Booths, and this year, in so many ways, our teams have delivered the very best in terms of quality, product and service,” said Dee.

*Figures refer to trading dates of 13/12/15 to 02/01/16. Figures exclude the Keswick store in Cumbria, which was badly hit by flooding on 5 December resulting in closure.