Overall group down against a record 2011 inflated by two big sales.
Sales at W Bruford’s fashion-focused fascia Inspired by Brufords were up 9% over Christmas against tough comparables from the year before.
Sales across the business were down as a whole, with like-for-like figures showing a drop of 9%, but managing director Ashley Pugh said this was caused by two one-off high-value sales at W Bruford at Christmas 2011.
With these two exceptional sales, which accounted for 20% of festive turnover in 2011, taken out of the equation, Bruford said that festive sales were flat on the previous year, which was in line with its expectations.
Pugh said: “These were high-value sales, difficult to repeat. If they were taken out of the equation then we would have been looking at almost level, which in truth I would have accepted given the climate.
“I would say that Christmas was OK, slightly disappointing, but we find when there is a big technology Christmas – iPad, iPhone, etc – it does impact on sales.”
In the run up to the festive period W Bruford invested about 5% of the month’s turnover in marketing activities. It ran advertising campaigns through local radio, newspapers and magazines and also in-store events and ran product promotions.
Popular products over the period included Pandora, Swarovski, Tresor Paris and Ti Sento jewellery at Inspired by Brufords. At W Brufords it was diamond rings that stole the show this Christmas, driven by a diamond promotion.
The retailer avoided discounting over the period.
Speaking of the year ahead, Puigh said: "How am I feeling about this year? Cautiously optimistic is probably the best way to describe things. I think it is going to be tough and we are going to be controlling everything very closely – stock, expenses and costs, etc. We have no plans to cut back but if the year doesn’t seem to be going well we have the option each quarter to review."