The British high street is preparing for a £1.11 billion spending splurge on Saturday December 18th, with ten million people expected to hit the shops in a last minute dash to purchase remaining Christmas gifts.
A study from online shopping site Kelkoo and the Centre for Retail Research suggests that the snowy weather conditions at the start of the month could mean £450 million more is spent on Saturday than originally forecast.
It was predicted earlier this year that Christmas sales will rise by just 1.3 per cent to £68.7 billion this year, compared to a 1.9 per cent hike between 2008 and 2009 festive seasons.
Kelkoo and the Centre for Retail Research expect high street trading to fall by 2.9 per cent year-on-year, although online spending will more than make up for this deficit by increasing 28.8 per cent.
Chris Simpson, Marketing Director at Kelkoo, said: “This weekend is vitally important for high street retailers as many earn up to 60 per cent of their annual profits during the Christmas period, and the bad weather has recently dampened their sales expectations.
“It’s therefore encouraging to see that shoppers will be heading onto the high street in solid numbers this Saturday.”
Among the retailers crossing their fingers for a strong Christmas trading period is entertainment specialist Game Group, with its Chairman Peter Lewis saying last week that the festive period is the “most significant” of the year, historically representing over 25 per cent of annual revenues.
He commented: “As we enter the key Christmas period, we have seen some positive indicators in the market.
“Strong and innovative products are launching well, there is a record installed base of consoles in each of our territories, and customers are responding positively to our specialist offer.”