BRITISH shoppers will spend £85billion in post-lockdown Christmas bonanza, new figures show.
The nation’s stores will reportedly experience a festive spree with people splashing the cash because of eased Covid restrictions compared to last year.
And the Christmas spending has started early, with retail figures yesterday confirming sales are up compared to normal at this time of year due to fears over shortages.
High street stores have roared back to life with online sales falling to lows not seen since the start of the pandemic, Office for National Statistics figures showed.
Overall retail sales inched upwards by 0.8 percent, ending a five-month run of falling.
Early Christmas shopping last month helped sales at clothes stores come within touching distance of pre-pandemic levels – up over six percent because customers tried to avoid supply chain shortages hitting the industry.
Meanwhile, footfall growth on UK high streets is the highest among major EU economies, the British Retail Consortium said.
At least £52.5billion is expected to be spent in stores in the six weeks to Christmas, with £32.3billion splurged online.
This totals £5billion more than the £80billion spent in 2020 when the pandemic forced stores to limit trading and eventually close, research by website VoucherCodes found.
Angus Drummond, senior director at VoucherCodes, said: “As the retail industry gets back on its feet recovering from the huge challenges of the pandemic, our report’s prediction for this Christmas is the welcome news the industry has been waiting for.
Last year’s store closures and lockdown regulations were devastating for many retailers, so it’s particularly encouraging to see that sales will not only recover from 2020, but will exceed pre-pandemic results.
This Christmas could mark the start of the turning point for brands hopeful for a profitable 2022.”
Finance experts predicted savvy savers who have pocketed money during the pandemic could spend £1,275 a head on preparations for Christmas this year, £76 more than in 2020.
Shoppers in every region of the UK are preparing to splash out more on festivities than last year, with London and the South-east predicted to spend the most.
Consumer expert Scott Dixon said: “Covid and numerous lockdowns have resulted in consumers keen to spend the money they have saved and hitting the high streets to support local businesses.
Consumers have felt the pain personally and are acutely aware that retailers need more support now than ever if they are to survive.
People want to try clothes on and see and feel things, meet up with friends and make a day of it, which you simply can’t do online.
Interestingly, Primark doesn’t have an online presence and is thriving so the demand is clearly there for retailers to take advantage of.”
In-store retailers should also be poised for a lucrative Black Friday next week, with consumers set to splurge nearly £3.5billion on the day alone – up 7.3 percent compared to 2020.
But sales in physical stores will struggle to reach pre-pandemic levels over Black Friday weekend, falling short of the almost £5billion made in 2019, VoucherCodes said.
Retail expert Melissa Minkow said stores launched Black Friday deals early to ease supply chain pressure.
She said: “The boost is also in part due to earlier promotions being offered by retailers, which are helping spread demand across the weeks up to Black Friday and Christmas, in order to alleviate some supply chain pressure.
Consumers aren’t taking any risks with stock-out stress in the wake of continued supply chain disruption.”
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