Here's how Citi thinks Christmas went for Australian retailers

Boxing Day sales. Don Arnold/Getty Images

Christmas spending was solid but not spectacular for Australian retailers, according to research by analysts at Citi.

The analysts have been speaking to ASX-listed retail companies, trying to gauge the success or otherwise of Christmas sales.

The retailers they spoke to were “lukewarm” about Christmas trading.

“There is no alarm about weak sales trends, nor is discounting particularly steep, but the sales growth has been modest for most,” the analysts say in a note, How Many Presents Were Under the Tree?

“Given the very successful Christmas in 2015, it was always going to be difficult to deliver high levels of growth.

“Our strongest feedback is on Myer and JB Hi-Fi, while Coles was weak and so were women’s apparel and footwear retailers.”

“Based on our conversations with suppliers and industry contacts, Myer did well with Giftorium and JB Hi-Fi traded strongly throughout the month.”

In supermarkets, feedback suggests Coles sales were very soft but this reflects a very strong December 2015 result.

Most retailers experienced a further surge in online sales at the expense of store sales.

Here’s Citi’s take on how the retailers fared:

“Retail feedback for Christmas 2016 is a contrast to the prior year with most retailers we spoke to reporting a weak start to December, a good two weeks leading into Christmas day and solid Boxing Day sales,” the analysts say in a note to clients.

“While December is solid for most, the weakness in October across the board and mixed sales trends in November, mean there is little upside risk to earnings for FY17e.”

The Citi analysis matches comments by the Australian Retailers Association which says Boxing Day proved to be a great day with sales of around $2.3 billion as forecast.

Research by the association and Roy Morgan forecast shoppers spending $17.2 billion from December 26 to January 15.

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