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UK consumers likely to flock to high street in last-minute Christmas panic

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Analysts have predicted a last minute boom in Christmas purchases, offset by the notable absence of customers on the high street.

Since late November consumers have been favouring online purchasing. Savvy retailers have improved their delivery offering to include express, and in some cases same-day, options. Click-and-collect services have also been increasing in popularity.  

Several of Britain’s high street stalwarts have continued to lower prices following mild weather which has hurt winter clothing lines.   

Steve Richardson, UK Regional Director at Footfall, said online shopping had largely impacted shopper behaviour, but that the final run-up to Christmas would see a dramatic turnaround.

“We expect the Panic Monday shift – when consumers abandon online shopping and take to the streets, in a bid to ensure they tick off all the final gifts on their Christmas lists – to be even more pronounced this year.”

Richardson predicted that footfall will peak on Tuesday, whilst Visa has predicted that Wednesday will see the largest return to high street stores.

“As consumers turn to their mobiles and tablets to take advantage of retailers’ last-minute click and collect services in the run-up to the 23rd, retailers may also see a surge in footfall on the day, with the opportunity for further shopping in-store when consumers arrive,” said Managing Director of Visa in UK and Ireland Kevin Jenkins.

Published on Tuesday 22 December by Philip Gallagher

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