DON’T leave your shopping until Christmas Eve! Retailers warn of chaos and queues as Sunday hours mean tills will close by late afternoon
Families have been warned to avoid Christmas Eve shopping this year as the big rush begins for last minute presents and supplies for the festive period.
Shoppers across Britain are being urged to stock up as early as possible this week, as Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday this year.
Retailers will be forced to open late and close early that day, which means shops are likely to be more chaotic than usual during the week.
On Christmas Eve, major branches of Sainsbury’s will open 11am to 5pm, while large Tesco stores will open at 10am and shut at 4pm.
Shoppers on Oxford Street in central London, with only only one week before Christmas
Packed crowds outside John Lewis on Oxford Street in central London as people prepare for Christmas
Professor Joshua Bamfield, director of the Centre for Retail Research, said: ‘The week leading up to Christmas will be the busiest shopping week of the year so far.
‘It will beat the Black Friday and Cyber Monday week, which is about buying for yourself. This time of December is about buying for others.
‘There is a lot of competition for custom and retailers are under pressure, so prices are being cut to the bone, especially by clothing retailers.
‘People have been out shopping like mad this weekend, with heavy footfall and full car parks at retail centres.
‘After a slow November and steady early December, shoppers are now feeling the Christmas spirit, but some anxious emotions as well.’
One in three Brits hit stores on the penultimate weekend before December 25 as giant discounts convinced shoppers to finally throw open the purse strings following a slow build-up to Christmas.
Nearly nine million shoppers spent £650m in stores yesterday after 10.8million shoppers blew £870million on Saturday, said a Centre for Retail Research study for VoucherCodes, based on interviews with 80 major UK retailers and 1,000 shoppers.
Last-minute online buys are set to have added £400m to the weekend spending total, Centre for Retail Research spending trends showed, thanks to websites’ late order-by dates for pre-Christmas purchases.
Nearly nine million shoppers spent £650m in stores yesterday after 10.8million shoppers blew £870million on Saturday. Pictured is Oxford Street in London today
One in three Brits hit stores on the penultimate weekend before December 25 as giant discounts convinced shoppers to finally throw open the purse strings following a slow build-up to Christmas
Shoppers across Britain are being urged to stock up as early as possible this, as Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday this year. Pictured is a packed Oxford Street, London, yesterday
The final pre-Christmas week from today to Christmas Eve on Sunday will be the busiest shopping week of the year so far, eclipsing the Black Friday and Cyber Monday week, experts said.
Enormous discounts are boosting spending as analysts said shoppers had effectively held stores to ransom by holding back on spending until prices were ‘cut to the bone.’
Big chains including Next and Oasis have cut up to 70 per cent off prices, with Top Shop, River Island and Argos at up to 50 per cent off, and some Currys deals at close to half-price.
Up to eight in 10 retailers are expected to offer price cuts before Christmas.
Retailers will be forced to open late and close early that day, which means shops are likely to be more chaotic that usual during the week
Saturday saw around 120,000 shoppers at Bluewater, Kent, with 100,000 at Lakeside, Essex, and 70,000 at London’s Brent Cross. Around 200,000 hit both Birmingham’s Bullring and Cardiff’s St David’s Centre, with more than 100,000 at Sheffield’s Meadowhall.
Braehead, near Glasgow, saw 90,000, with 70,000 at Aberdeen’s Union Square.
Analysts said footfall has surged as the festive rush kicked in after sluggish spending before and after late November’s Black Friday period.
Mintel director of retail research Richard Perks said: ‘Retailers know consumers want discounts before they spend.
‘So they are bringing forward cut-price sales from post-Christmas to pre-Christmas, encouraging people to splash out.
‘It eats into retailers’ profit margins. But consumers’ incomes are under pressure and interest rates are squeezing them, so retailers are responding.’