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Online traders top the Christmas tree

Online retailers look to be the winners in the Christmas trading stakes. Numis analyst Steve Davies said early reports pointed to a 50% rise in online sales in December, ahead of forecast, which bodes well for the likes of Asos.com and N Brown. Asos shares rose 6.5p to 118.75p, while N Brown climbed 1.5p to 284.25p.

Marks & Spencer and Next shares were buoyant ahead of expected trading updates next week. Shares at Next, whose trading statement was due as Drapers went to press, rose 42p to 1842p, while M&S climbed 9.5p to 730.5p.

Cashmere firm Dawson International has promoted chief operating officer Andy Bartmess to chief executive, a post which had been vacant since Paul Munn left the company in August 2003. The business is currently in takeover talks. Shares were unchanged at 6.625p.

Alexon has sold its loss-making Dolcis footwear chain to entrepreneur John Kinnaird for £2.7 million. The ex-Sports Division retail director was backed by EPIC Private Equity. Alexon shares were up 5.75p to 187.75p.

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