Marks & Spencer and Debenhams were big share price winners today after strong December trading boosted sales figures.
Updates from the pair reinforced findings from the British Retail Consortium that showed households were still willing to spend over the Christmas period.
The mood of traders was also helped by a resilient session for Asian markets, even though figures showed growth in China’s exports slowed in December. The FTSE 100 Index stood 42.7 points higher at 5654.7, with banking and mining stocks among those on the front foot.
The risers board featured a gain of 2% for Marks & Spencer after a strong performance in its food department helped it achieve a 0.5% rise in like-for-like sales in the 13 weeks to December 31. Shares were up 7.55p to 316p.
Debenhams was ahead by nearly 10% or 5.5p to 62.4p in the FTSE 250 Index after it reported a record pre-Christmas week and said underlying sales were flat across the 18 weeks to January 7.
However, video games retailer Game slumped 25% after it warned it was in danger of of breaching a banking agreement following a tough Christmas. It recorded a 12.9% decline in like-for-like sales in the eight weeks to January 7, leading to a 1.7p fall in shares to 5.1p.