Selfridges enjoyed a large slice of the vegan pie over Christmas, as sales across the business grew in the vital trading period.

Plant-based alternatives were in high demand, the company said on Friday, as sales of its vegan confectionery almost doubled in the 24-day run-up to Christmas, and its new vegan hamper sold out.

These contributed to a 5% uplift in overall sales across the business.

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Toys were another strong category, with sales up 31% over the period.

Men's clothing increased by 11%, and the beauty category rose by a 10th.

Managing director Simon Forster said: "We are pleased to have delivered another strong performance over the Christmas period. We always aim to offer a great selection of exclusive products and extraordinary customer experiences, and this year has been no exception."

Amid ongoing high street woes, the business turned to special measures to attract customers through its doors, with Santa offering piano lessons and having breakfast with children, and his wife reading stories.

There were also dance and choral performances.

JD Sports said it expects annual profits to be at the higher end of forecasts after posting "encouraging" sales growth over the Christmas period.

The sportswear retailer said it saw positive like-for-like sales across its fashion businesses, with particular growth overseas, during the key retail period.

It said that growth was particularly encouraging given the "backdrop of widely reported retail challenges in the group's core UK market".

JD Sports added that the performance of its international business throughout January will be particularly important to its overall position in these markets.

In a brief trading update, JD Sports said it is "confident" that full year pre-tax profits will be between £403 million and £433 million.

The retailer saw its share value more than double during 2019, leading to its admission to the FTSE 100, as it shrugged off high street turmoil to continue rapid sales growth.

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JD posted 10% like-for-like sales growth for the first half of the current financial year, as its bosses said it was boosted by premium products and online sales.

The company's new trading update comes as JD faces scrutiny from the competition watchdog over its plan to acquire rival Footasylum in a £90 million deal.

Greg Lawless, at Shore Capital, said: "JD Sports has announced a reassuring trading update.

"The statement highlights the widely reported retail challenges in the core UK market, a theme we have heard all week in the trading updates.

"The statement lacks specific trading figures but the tone of the statement is positive and we note that there is another upgrade from the company."

Shares in the company were flat at 826.6p in early trading.

Ryanair has upgraded its profit forecast after a stronger-than-expected Christmas, the company said, even as losses rose at its Austrian subsidiary.

The company now expects profit after tax for the financial year to reach between €950 million (£806 million) to €1.05 billion (£891 million).

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It is an increase from previous guidance of between €800 million (£679 million) and €900 million (£764 million).

Not only was Christmas strong, but orders are high going into the fourth quarter of the financial year, Ryanair said.

The company said that bookings for the first three months of 2020 had risen 1% higher than at the same time last year. It now expects to carry 154 million passengers over the financial year, an increase of one million.

It comes even as losses widened at its Austrian subsidiary Laudamotion, which had lower average fees than expected over Christmas, despite strong growth in traffic.

It was forced to compete in a tough pricing war with Lufthansa and its subsidiaries in Germany and Austria. Net loss will widen by €10 million (£8.49 million) to around €90 million (£76.4 million).