Stores and shoppers set for festive buying frenzy

IN: Personal News

Pre-Christmas shopping weekends as busy as ever.

undefinedRecent years have seen retailers and consumers make the most of the final shopping weekends before Christmas with a frenzy of buying and selling, and this year will be no different.

This weekend, millions of people will be heading to stores and shopping centres all over the UK to make the most of the final non-work days before Christmas. If recent trends are anything to go by, retail outlets and chains will be taking full advantage of this spike in custom by slashing prices.

Last Christmas, some of the biggest stores offered general reductions of up to 50 per cent, while prices on selected gifts were cut by as much as 75 per cent, the Evening Standard reported.

Tom Nathan, general manager of the Brent Cross shopping centre in north London, said the opportunity to get bargains was encouraging many consumers to leave their Christmas gift buying until the last minute.

"People are leaving it later and later because retailers have better ranges available," he said. "The general view customers take is that if I want to buy something, I can have it."

This is a trend that appears to have been running for a few years, with a Visa Europe report released in December 2012 indicating that people were saving up and leaving the bulk of their Christmas spending until the last full weekend before December 25th.

Steve Perry, the group's commercial director, pointed out that this time of year heralds "fierce" competition between retailers trying to get the biggest possible share of the market.

"Growing numbers of consumers [are] still visiting online retailers to snap up bargains ahead of anticipated discounting on the high street in the final furlong before Christmas," he said.

This year, the retail phenomenon known as Black Friday in the US became bigger than ever in the UK, with millions of shoppers heading to stores and online to make the most of limited-time offers.

Figures from the British Retail Consortium and KPMG showed that the one-day rush lifted sales figures out of the usual lull recorded in November.

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