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Primark, Asos and Mulberry wear well

Bright spots amid the general gloom in clothing retail

Three British retailers – Mulberry, Asos and Primark – bucked the gloom in the industry when they reported strong results over Christmas and the new year, but Comet, owned by Kesa Electricals, revealed it had a difficult time.

Comet is being sold by Kesa for £2 to investment firm OpCapita, but there is no sign things are getting better: like-for-like sales fell 14.5% between November and January. On Tuesday rival Dixons Retail said it had outperformed both Comet and Argos in electricals, despite competition from supermarkets and caution from cash-strapped consumers.

The Comet sale is due to be completed on 3 February, leaving Kesa with its French chain Darty, which saw sales fall 4.7%. The French market is little easier than the UK amid the seemingly endless eurozone crisis.

But elsewhere there were rays of sunshine: Mulberry’s shares rose 8% to £16 after chief executive Godfrey Davis disclosed a 35% jump in like-for-like sales in the six weeks to 14 January. Mulberry’s success illustrates how luxury retailers continue to benefit from spending by the wealthy from both home and abroad.

Primark, the discount retailer owned by Associated British Foods, reported a 16% increase in sales in the 16 weeks to 7 January. Its other divisions – Silver Spoon sugar, agriculture, Twinings Ovaltine and Allied Bakeries – also showed increases, helping ABF to a total rise in revenues of 12%.

Another big success story was Asos, the online fashion and beauty store, where like-for-like UK trading grew 10% in the three months to 31 December, better than market forecasts. International trade pushed overall growth in sales up 46%. The shares surged 18% to £17.60. Asos targets 16-to-34-year-olds with its own brand of clothes based on outfits first worn by celebrities, and fashion favourites such as River Island, American Apparel or Ralph Lauren. © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds